For the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Israel will expand its Green Pass mandate to include shopping malls, restricting access to citizens who are not fully protected against the disease as fears of the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant mount.
As per a decision by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, Israelis will now have to present their Green Pass — a document which grants access to public accommodations to either those who received three shots of a coronavirus vaccine or those who received two doses or recovered from the virus within the last six months — upon entering a mall.
Security guards will scan each shopper's Green Pass and will hand bracelets upon receiving digital approval that will allow them to move freely throughout the mall.
Exemption from presenting a Green Pass will be given to those who wish to enter the mall to use one of several essential services that will be stipulated by health professionals and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.
A person who enters a mall for the purpose of receiving an essential service will not receive a bracelet and will only be allowed to enter the mall for the purpose for which they came.
Israel's mall and shopping center lobby opposed the move, saying that marking patrons using bracelets is unreasonable and will not pass constitutional muster.
In addition, officials also decided to grant a provisional Green Pass to those who have received their first coronavirus vaccine that will be good for 30 days.
Both decisions are pending government and Knesset's approval.
Furthermore, the Health Ministry is mulling restricting travel to and from Germany among other countries as they come to grips with a mountainous COVID-19 upsurge.