Israelis once again must wear masks outside, to curb the spread of coronavirus, after an order which allowed people to ditch protective face gear due to an extreme heatwave last week, was lifted on Sunday.
The continued decrease in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the country has raised questions about the validity of the health order, but ministry officials say there are no plans to lift the regulation anytime soon.
Since the beginning of May, 4,262 fines were handed out to people not wearing protective face masks in public.
According to the order, face are mandatory in all public places with the exception of: exercise activities, in workplaces with a separation barrier higher than 1.20 meters between employees, during a lecture (by a teacher or a professor), for students through first to third grades, children younger than seven, a medical or psychological necessity, during filming of TV shows, films or when assisting a person with impaired hearing.
On Wednesday, restaurants and hotels are set to be reopened under guidelines approved by the Health Ministry.
"There is no question that the low number of virus cases in Israel is due to the public's responsible behavior," said Pro. Ran Balicer, Director of the Clalit Research Institute and a member of the Health Ministry's infectious disease prevention team.
"It's only a matter of probability and bad luck a person with the virus enters a gathering without a face mask and infects other people," Prof. Balicer added.
"Data shows that the disease is transmitted via 'supercarriers' and wearing a protective face mask prevents a person from becoming one, even if he doesn't know he has the virus."