מלון דן פנורמה אילת
Dan Panorama Eilat Hotel
Photo: Dan Panorama
Dan Panorama Eilat Hotel

Israel to reopen zoos nationwide, restaurants in 'tourism hubs'

Constitution, Law and Justice Committee amends the existing bill, effectively lifting the lockdown in Eilat and the Dead Sea that rely heavily on tourism; zoos and safari parks also allowed to reopen for the first time in months

Published: 11.18.20 , 20:55
A special Knesset committee on Wednesday voted to reopen restaurants, trade industry and tourist attractions in what the government calls "tourism hubs" as well as zoos and safari parks throughout the country.
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  • Knesset last week passed a bill to allow hotels to reopen in the resort area of the Dead Sea and the city of Eilat, which have sustained a financial hit during the two nationwide lockdowns and were designated as "tourism hubs" by the legislation. The latest amendment to the bill essentially lifts the lockdown in those areas.
    מלון דן פנורמה אילתמלון דן פנורמה אילת
    Dan Panorama Eilat Hotel
    (Photo: Dan Panorama)
    According to the outline approved by Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, every tourist arriving in Eilat or Ein Bokek close to the Dead Sea, must present a negative coronavirus test taken at least 72 hours before the arrival.
    Several vacationers have already reported they were at the entrance to the city when the test certificate they presented at the checkpoint was proven invalid due to being taken more than 72 hours before their arrival.
    Leonardo Club Hotel Dead Sea Leonardo Club Hotel Dead Sea
    Leonardo Club Hotel Dead Sea
    The committee also approved the reopening of zoos, which have remained closed for over two months.
    "Thank you very much on behalf the animals," said Yesh Atid MK Mickey Levy, who pushed to include zoos in the amendment to the existing regulations.
    “This happy move will allow us to breathe a sigh of relief and try to reduce the economic damage that has accumulated during this period,” said the Safari Ramat Gan, which houses the largest collection of wildlife in human care in the Middle East.
    Giraffes in Safari Ramat Gan Giraffes in Safari Ramat Gan
    Giraffes in Safari Ramat Gan
    (Photo: Moti Kimchi)
    “Of course we will once again be able to realize our mission to create an experiential and educational encounter of people with wildlife. We will act in accordance with regulations to ensure safe conduct in the park as well as to maintain the health guidelines,” added the statement.
    Meanwhile, discussions will continue in the coronavirus cabinet over the reopening of additional industries as well as further easing of viris curbs.
    Among the issues set to be discussed is the Health Ministry's recommendation to allow larger businesses to let in a bigger number of customers, due to the overcrowding the current limit of only four shoppers appears to create.
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