ועדת הקורונה
The Knesset Coronavirus Committee
Photo: Knesset Channel
The Knesset Coronavirus Committee

Fitness fans rejoice as Israeli MKs vote to reopen gyms

Knesset virus committee once again at odds with Netanyahu by voting to reopen gyms for a second time in less than a week; tourist attractions, such as zoos and museums to stay open on weekends but stores, shopping centers to close

Nina Fuchs |
Published: 07.23.20 , 13:43
The Knesset Coronavirus Committee approved on Thursday the reopening of Israel's gyms from Sunday and access to local tourist spots at weekends.
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  • The issue of gyms has been at the center of a row between the government, which wants to keep them closed, and the panel of lawmakers that has insisted on their opening due to evidence showing they are responsible for low numbers of virus infections.
    ועדת הקורונה ועדת הקורונה
    The Knesset Coronavirus Committee
    (Photo: Knesset Channel )
    Head of the committee, Likud MK Yifat Shasha-Biton, said the decision to delay the reopening until Sunday was intended to give lawmakers time to formulate an outline that would allow the reopening to happen in a manner that wouldn't be detrimental to public health.
    Tourists attractions, such as museums and zoos, will remain open on weekends in accordance with health regulations, but all stores and shopping centers will be shuttered from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning.
    הפגנה של ענף הכושר מול ביתו של יולי אדלשטיין כנגד ההחלטה לסגור את חדרי הכושרהפגנה של ענף הכושר מול ביתו של יולי אדלשטיין כנגד ההחלטה לסגור את חדרי הכושר
    Protest of gym owners in front of Yuli Edelstein's house
    (Photo: Motti Kimchi )
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to oust Shasha-Biton as committee chair for insubordination after she backed the reopening of gyms last week, overriding a government decision. The government voted to close the gyms once again later that week.
    Shasha-Biton during the vote addressed her possible dismissal, saying she will continue to "ask the tough questions".
    יפעת שאשא ביטוןיפעת שאשא ביטון
    Likud MK Yifat Shasha-Biton
    (Photo: Knesset Channel )
    "It's disturbing that the data is vague, and you can't put it on the table," Shasha-Biton said during the vote on Thursday morning.
    "If there are 200,000 people among us who have the anti-bodies - as reported in the serological survey - we are in a slightly different situation and the price we're paying does not necessarily match what is happening on the ground," she said. "When we put it in proportion, my feeling is that we have not found the right way to deal with the crisis."
    On Tuesday, the committee decided that Israel's restaurants can remain open under certain restrictions, despite a government move to close eateries to diners and only allow takeaway and delivery services.
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