The third coronavirus lockdown now officially in place, despite going into effect hours earlier, after the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Monday approved the measures in a tense voting session.
A little over two months after the end of the second nationwide lockdown, Israel entered its third coronavirus closure on Sunday evening, in an effort to reduce the spread of the pathogen.
During the lockdown the public will be restricted from traveling to beyond one kilometer from their homes and banned from entering residences of other people. Trade and entertainment industries will be virtually shuttered, non-public facing businesses will be able to operate at 50% capacity, public transport will operate at 50% capacity and social gatherings will be restricted to 20 people in open areas and 10 people indoors.
The members of the committee who are part of the ruling coalition barely managed to secure the vote by 8-7, after numerous panel members objected to some of the measures. The biggest point of disagreement was the closure of restaurants save for deliveries.
According to the latest restrictions, restaurants will only be able to provide food via deliveries, with takeaway services temporarily banned.
As a compromise the government agreed that for the first week of lockdown, restaurants will be restricted to deliveries as planned, but the possibility of takeaway food will be revisited next week.
Members of the opposition were very vocal in the condemnation of the lockdown, leading to shouting matches with other members of the committee. MK Matan Kahana from Yamina called the lockdown "a terrible failure", while the Joint List MK Ofer Cassif said the closure is "harmful" to the public health.
This prompted Likud MK Osnat Mark to label opposition lawmakers as "populists", while Coalition Chairman Likud MK Miki Zohar accused them of wanting for the pathogen to spread.