מסעדה תל אביב
A Tel Aviv restaurant open during the coronavirus pandemic
Photo: AFP
A Tel Aviv restaurant open during the coronavirus pandemic

Food fight: MK panel defies government and keeps restaurants open

Knesset coronavirus committee decides eateries can host up to 20 diners inside, 30 outdoors, overturning cabinet decision to close them to all but takeaways, deliveries; row has seen businesses open and close repeatedly as lawmakers spar over authority

Nina Fox |
Published: 07.21.20 , 13:13
The Knesset committee on handling the coronavirus crisis decided Tuesday 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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  • The committee decision, which allows 20 diners inside a restaurant and 30 outside, comes after panel head MK Yifat Shasha-Biton and Health Minster Yuli Edelstein failed Monday night to reach an agreement on the issue. The decision to keep restaurants open is pending a final government ruling on the issue.
    מסעדה תל אביבמסעדה תל אביב
    A Tel Aviv restaurant open during the coronavirus pandemic
    (Photo: AFP)
    The Tuesday decision was supported by seven members of the panel while three opposed and was to take effect immediately, overturning a government closure that began at 5 am Tuesday.
    Health Minster Yuli Edelstein, and Head of the coronavirus Committee, MK Yifat Shasha-Biton Health Minster Yuli Edelstein, and Head of the coronavirus Committee, MK Yifat Shasha-Biton
    Health Minster Yuli Edelstein, and Head of the coronavirus Committee, MK Yifat Shasha-Biton
    (Photo: Adina Wellman)
    This is the second time that the parliamentary committee, which is headed by a lawmaker from the ruling Likud party, has clashed with the government over restrictions aimed at countering the virus.
    Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to oust Shasha-Biton as committee chair after she backed the reopening of gyms, overriding a government decision.
    The current row over restaurants began last Thursday, when the government decided to shutter them to all diners from the following afternoon, causing some restaurateurs to rebel and announce that they would not abide by the decision.
    עימותים ועצורים אחרי ההפגנה: "זו מלחמה"עימותים ועצורים אחרי ההפגנה: "זו מלחמה"
    Protesters in Tel Aviv against the governemnt's conduct during the coronavirus induced economic crisis
    (Photo: EPA)
    The Association of Restaurateurs said Thursday that the the government's plan "did not take into account the low infection rate in restaurants and offers a model that does not exist anywhere else in the world."
    The decision was reversed by the government on Friday afternoon, approximately an hour before the restrictions were due to take hold, and after many eateries had already disposed of perishable food products.
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