Israel extended COVID-19 travel restrictions on Wednesday, adding Britain and Denmark to the list of “red” countries, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The government also extended the regulations restricting entry to and exit from Israel by an additional week until Dec. 29.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and key government ministers announced a plan to provide assistance to workers in the tourism industry, which has been hit hard by coronavirus closures.

“We are coming to the assistance of tourism sector workers at a difficult time,” said Bennett. “The goal is to protect the health of the citizens of Israel from the Omicron strain, and at the same time, keep the economy open and orderly.”

The core of the package, according to the government, is a 30,000 shekel ($9,665) investment in each tourism worker who opts to “integrate into other employment in or outside the sector.”

In addition, hotels with more than a 40 percent decline in business turnover due to COVID-19 restrictions will be eligible for 130 million shekels ($42 million) in grants over the coming months. Another 60 million shekels ($19 million) will be available “to support inbound tourism organizers in marketing, retaining personnel and recouping costs.”

Twenty-five million shekels ($8 million) will be set aside to help tour guides. The money will finance some 25,000 free tours for the public at a cost of 1,000 shekels ($300) per tour.

The plan also invites tourism workers to become coronavirus inspectors in the education system and epidemiological researchers in local authorities at a monthly wage of 11,000 shekels ($3,500).

JNS

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