Israel on Saturday lifted a host of major coronavirus restrictions, which includes the reopening of the restaurant sector and scrapping temperature screening at entrances to public places from March 7.
The coronavirus cabinet convened in the evening hours to vote on the third phase of the lockdown exit plan under uncertainty whether the measure would be approved, due to high COVID-19 basic reproduction number in the country.
The third phase of the exit plan includes the reopening of schools for children in grades 7-10 in "green," "yellow" and some "orange" municipalities with low-to-mid level of virus infections.
Higher education and post-secondary religious education institutions will also reopen in accordance with the "Green Pass" outline, when only those who had been vaccinated with both vaccine shots are allowed to enter the facility.
According to the latest guidelines, each classroom can allow up to 300 people inside, not exceeding 75% capacity of the room. A four-meter distance must be maintained between the lecturer or teacher and the students. Educational institutions that would allow in students who do not have a Green Pass will be fined NIS 5,000.
The government also voted to increase the nationwide gathering limit from 10 people in a confined space to 20 and to 50 in an open area. Ministers also approved the scrapping of the passenger limit in private vehicles and temperature screenings at entrances to public complexes.
Restaurants, cafes and bars will also be allowed to reopen from Sunday for Green Pass holders. For outdoor dining, however, the Green Pass is not required. These businesses are allowed to operate at only 75% capacity. Event halls are also allowed to reopen in accordance with the Green Pass guidelines and can operate at 50% capacity.
Cultural, sporting events and conferences can be held with a maximum of 500 people in attendance in a confined space and up to 750 people in an open area. For an event taking place at a stadium with more than 10,000 seats - up to 1,000 people will be allowed to attend in a confined space and up to 1,500 people in an open area. Tickets must be sold in advance.
Places of worship operating in accordance with the Green Pass guidelines, can now allow up to 500 people inside as long as the attendance remains at 50% of the overall capacity of the complex.
In addition, ministers also voted to scrap the requirement to quarantine in state-run coronavirus hotels for those returning from abroad. The returnees are still required to enter a two-week isolation upon arrival.