The so-called coronavirus cabinet, which leads the government's response to the pandemic, voted Monday to return first to fourth grade students to school and to reopen beauty parlors.
The Health Ministry's proposed outline for elementary schools came to a heated debate over the past week.
The government eventually decided to stick to the ministry’s proposal to open classes on November 1 in the capsules format, with each class divided into two groups and requiring additional funds from the Finance Ministry.
All students will be mandated to wear face masks at school.
First and second grade after-school programs were also approved, also being divided into at most three groups of a maximum of 28 children each and all from the same school.
In addition to schools, the government approved the reopening of hair salons, beauty parlors, and the relaunching of elective medical treatments and driving lessons starting Sunday.
Beauticians and hairdressers will be allowed to see customers on a one-on-one basis.
The cabinet will hold a separate meeting on Thursday to decide on reopening other stores and guest houses.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz pushed for the reopening of retail stores while Health Minister Yuli Edelstein objected.
“We are in a very early stage of the [exit strategy] plan,” Edelstein said. “If we accept retail and guest rooms, I don’t know if to support it. We are playing with fire.”
Finance Minister Israel Katz stressed that he foresaw the Health Ministry’s opposition, which “can flex positions as we all do.”
The Health Ministry reported that 495 new coronavirus cases were diagnosed since midnight, putting Israel's total caseload at 310,600.
The death toll since the start of the pandemic rose to 2,440.
Out of 13,375 patients battling the disease, 486 are in serious condition, with 196 connected to ventilators.
I24NEWS contributed to the article