Israel to keep restaurants, swimming pools and beaches open but gyms will remain shuttered, the chair of the Likud faction said on Monday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet last week voted to close restaurants, cafes, gyms, pools and beaches over the rapid surge of COVID-19. However, following mass pressure from business owners and slight decrease in virus cases, the government is now looks to reverse the decision.
MK Miki Zohar said the Knesset's Coronavirus Committee, which is set to vote on the latest restrictions later in the day, will keep restaurants and cafes open.
"The right thing for the committee to rule on today is the possibility of leaving open restaurants and open spaces [such as beaches and pools], in accordance with the required regulations," he said. "Restaurant owners can live with that decision."
He said gyms, however, will remain shuttered due to alleged "high-rate" of COVID-19 infection. He did not provide any data proving the statement.
The issue of gyms became a political topic last week, when the head of the Knesset's virus committee, Likud MK Yifat Shasha-Biton, voted with the opposition to reopen the gyms, reversing the cabinet's decision from a week prior, and putting her at loggerheads with Netanyahu, who vowed to oust her from the position for insubordination.
Shasha-Biton said she welcomes the government's decision to allow more businesses to remain open but did not address on how she intends to vote on the issue of gyms.
"The decision not to close public pools and beaches is right and justified," she said. "We all work together to fight the virus. For all of us, economic, mental and physical health are extremely important. Swimming in beaches and pool has a positive effects."