The coronavirus cabinet approved Wednesday night a set of restrictions on gatherings, hoping to curb an ever-growing surge of COVID-19 infections nationwide in what looked like a last-ditch effort to avoid going into a devastating lockdown.
The new measures include the expansion of the Green Pass mandate, which requires people to present proof of vaccination or recovery at the entrance to public facilities, to include all Israelis from the age of 3 starting next Wednesday, August 18.
This includes conferences, exhibitions, hotels, gyms and fitness studios, country clubs and public swimming pools, nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, academic institutions, tourist attractions, museums, libraries and nursing homes.
Entry would be allowed only to those who can show proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID-19 or a negative coronavirus test.
Babies and toddlers aged 0–3 will be exempt from taking a COVID test. Children between the ages of 3–12, who are not eligible for a coronavirus vaccine, will have to take a virus test that will be paid for by the state.
Anyone over the age of 12 who has not been fully vaccinated against the virus or recovered from it will have to pay for tests out of pocket.
Shopping malls and stores will be subjected to the Purple Pass, which sets a cap on the number of customers allowed in a business at any given time and strict hygiene protocols, starting next Monday, August 16.
The rule will also apply to workplaces that have in-person contact with clients.
Mass events will be limited to up to 1,000 participants indoors and up to 5,000 outdoors.
Gatherings in private residences will be limited to up to 50 people indoors and up to 100 people outdoors.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and ministers will meet at a later time to draw up an outline for the implementation of the restrictions that will be brought for coronavirus cabinet approval soon.