Israel is set to reopen its cultural venues from September 1 for indoor performances, after an agreement was finalized with health officials, the Culture Ministry said Tuesday.
The news comes just less than a week after the government approved the renewal of outdoor cultural events, in accordance with the Health Ministry's guidelines and an outline formulated by Israel's coronavirus czar, Prof. Ronni Gamzu.
The resumption of indoor concerts, theatre performances and other cultural events would also be in accordance with Gamzu's outline. The events with up to 500 people will receive an immediate approval from the director general of the Culture Ministry, while events with over 500 participants will have to be authorized by the Health Ministry chief as well.
"This decision follows one made last week, when we permitted outdoor events to resume. We are working to facilitate the resumption of cultural events in our concert halls and other venues in order to bring the world of culture back to Israelis," said Culture Minister Hili Tropper.
Discussions with officials from the health and culture ministries are still ongoing in order to determine the optimal number of performers, operational staff and audience members that would be allowed at any given time.
Associate Director-General of the Health Ministry Prof. Itamar Grotto said there is a plan in place but would ultimately require the approval of the government. "The outline is based on occupancy percentage that will be approved by the Culture Ministry and by the Health Ministry."
Be'er Sheva Theatre CEO Shmulik Ifrach said he was pleased with the announcement but hoped "it will not remain in the realm of promises."
A sentiment reiterated by other theatre administrators, including the CEO Tel Aviv's Cameri Theatre, who said he was anxious to learn how many people would be allowed inside his theatre. "In any event, this is good news," he said.