On Motzei Shabbos, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced that the strict lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus would begin to be lifted on Sunday. Minyanim will be allowed outside, in quorums of up to ten people.
He also said that some workplaces would reopen, and the number of employees in the workplace will be increased from 15% to 30%.
Hi-tech and service industries will see an even higher rise, but will be subject to restrictions, he added. Public spaces will open, with the exceptions of malls and open markets.
Street shops offering electricity, optics, and household products will be allowed to reopen.
Those over 67 years of age should not go to work, he said. Companies will be allowed to operate, and meetings of up to eight people may be held.
“Special education will be reopened tomorrow, and private kindergartens with up to three families with regular caregivers will be allowed to operate,” Netanyahu said, warning that “if another outbreak occurs over the coming two weeks, we will be forced to return to previous measures.”
Special education classes will be separated into groups of up to three children each, and each group will be separate from the others.
Exercise will be permitted in groups of two, and communal prayer will be allowed outside, in quorums of up to ten people.
Netanyahu emphasized: “Coroanvirus will not leave soon. We need a stable, wide government.”
Addressing Israel’s Muslim citizens, Netanyahu wished them a happy Ramadan and urged them to protect their health and that of their families and communities by strictly adhering to Health Ministry guidelines. He emphasized that just as the Jewish citizens had celebrated Passover with their nuclear families only, Ramadan should be celebrated the same way.
Memorial Day and Independence Day activities will be held at home and on porches, he added.
Speaking after Netanyahu were Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov and Minister of Finance Shai Babad.
“Beginning tomorrow, essential workplaces will continue as usual,” Babad said. “The rest of the private sector – industry, manufacturing, and services will reopen at 30% capacity. It is still recommended that employees work at home as much as possible.”
The government is expected to vote Saturday night on the new guidelines, the remainder of which will go into effect on Monday.