Israel will abolish its COVID-19 masking requirement in most indoor settings starting 8pm Saturday, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz agreed on Wednesday.
The decision comes amid a steady decline in the country's coronavirus outbreak and is subject to the approval of the Knesset Health Committee.
However, masking will still be mandatory for confirmed coronavirus carriers heading to quarantine and in places with high infection risk, such as hospitals, nursing homes and planes.
Chairman of Knesset's Constitution, Law and Justice Committee MK Gilad Kariv welcomed the move and called it "an important step on the way back to normalcy."
"This decision is a continuation of the balanced and responsible policy that has characterized the coronavirus crisis response in recent months, as part of a new bill prepared by the Constitution Committee, he said.
This leaves only two pandemic measures in place — a 5–7-day quarantine period for vaccinated coronavirus carriers and 10 days for the unvaccinated; and testing requirement for travelers arriving in Israel from abroad.
As published earlier Wednesday by Ynet and sister publication Yedioth Ahronoth, Health officials are calling to do away with the latter as well, citing the high cost of the practice against its scant benefits.
MK Kariv also called on the government to reevaluate the necessity of testing and "adjust Israeli policy according to what is acceptable in most Western countries."