(September 17, 2020 / JNS) The Israeli Health Ministry, Finance Ministry and Prime Minister’s Office released a joint statement on Wednesday detailing the final list of regulations approved by the Cabinet for the nationwide lockdown scheduled to go into effect at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18:
One may travel only up to 500 meters from one’s residence, with the following exceptions:
• Employees/soldiers going to their place of work.
• Buying medicine, food and essential products and services.
• Helping someone in distress or who has some difficulty.
• Receiving medical, psychological or complementary medical treatment (with one patient only) and attending social welfare frameworks and essential social care.
• Attending the Knesset, demonstrations, judicial proceedings, or donating blood.
• A single person, or people who live together, may leave their homes for the purpose of exercise without restrictions as to distance, provided that the starting point is their residence and not a vehicle
• Attending a funeral or circumcision
• Cantors or shofar blowers who have received a permit from the Religious Services Ministry in order to attend High Holiday prayers.
• Essential treatment for animals
• Transferring a minor between parents who do not live together or transferring a minor to the care of another person if a single parent is going out for an essential need.
• Going to permitted educational activity (special education, children of essential workers)
• Going to the airport for an overseas flight, eight hours before the flight
• People with disabilities in sheltered housing or other residential programs may visit first-degree relatives, who may also visit them.
• First-degree relatives of fallen soldiers from the Yom Kippur War may go to memorial services.
It should be clarified that going to prayers, even according to the outline for the high holidays, is subject to the 500-meter rule.
From Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020, until Thurs., Oct. 1, 2020, one may leave one’s residence in order to purchase the “Four Species,” materials for building a sukkah and to perform the kapparot traditional service.
• It is prohibited to be in a residence of another person (except for some permitted purpose, such as carrying out work or assisting someone with a difficulty).
• It is prohibited to be on the beach except for permitted exercise only (by one person or people who live together, who came from their residence and not via a vehicle).
Rules of conduct in the public sphere
• Up to 10 people at a time may gather in a structure, and 20 in open areas.
• As much as is possible, people are to maintain a distance between them of at least two meters.
• Up to three people at a time may travel in the same vehicle (excluding those who live together), along with one additional passenger per additional backseat row.
Commercial and recreational restrictions
It is prohibited to open businesses and public facilities (including commerce, restaurants, swimming pools, gyms, barbershops, beauty parlors, recreational sites and hotels). There is no restriction on employees entering places of work provided said place of work is not open to the public (for example, to carry out maintenance work, arrange merchandise, etc.)
• Essential stores: Food stores, opticians, pharmacies, hygiene products, home maintenance products, laundries, communications products and repair shops for communications devices and computers.
• Reception in essential places of work for essential services that cannot be obtained remotely (post offices, banks, etc.)
• Hotels and guesthouses serving as alternate residences (long- or short-term) for people renting the place (such foreign workers, etc.)—without the use of public spaces, pools, etc. This exception includes hotels for people in quarantine or those hotels designated for use by people receiving treatment and their families, adjacent to a medical institution.
• Professional athletic training facilities approved by the Culture and Sports Ministry director-general.
It should be clarified that it is permitted to operate food stores and essential stores (as detailed above) only in malls or open-air markets.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur prayers
It is permitted to attend prayers provided that they are being held no more than 500 meters from one’s residence.
In open areas, prayers may be conducted in regular groups of up to 20 people, with distance between the groups and physical demarcation, empty places between people who do not live together, and no serving of food.
In structures, prayers may be conducted in regular groups of 10/25 people (for areas whose coronavirus morbidity is classified as “orange” or “red” respectively), with plastic dividers between the areas, the maintaining of distance between the areas, the posting of signs regarding the number of worshippers allowed, the size of the place, the applicable rules, two chairs’ distance between worshippers and no serving of food.
Permitted capacities for structures during high holiday prayers, according to the number of entrances to the structures:
• Red areas—30 people for the first two entrances, 20 people for each additional entrance.
• Orange areas—50 people per entrance
In any case, the number of worshippers present shall not exceed one person per four square meters of space in places designated for prayer.
• City buses on regular routes—32 passengers.
• Inter-city buses on regular routes—30 passengers.
• Accordion buses on regular routes—50 passengers.
• Minibuses—50 percent of the number specified by the license.
• The Carmelit (underground funicular railway in Haifa)—50 percent of spaces.
• Chartered buses—30 passengers.
• All other ground vehicles—50 percent of the number specified in the license.
• Taxis—the driver and either one or two passengers, if one of the passengers is someone who needs an escort, except for people who live together.
Special directives for passengers:
• Passengers in ground transportation vehicles may not eat while they are in the vehicle unless it is necessary to maintain health.
• Passengers in public transportation will pay for the ride by validating their ticket themselves and not by purchasing tickets from the driver; however, senior citizens, people accompanying the blind and passengers on bulletproof buses in Judea and Samaria will be able to purchase tickets from the driver.
• Those operating ground transportation vehicles shall employ ushers to assist in maintaining these rules. The ushers must wear clothing that identifies the operating company, and which is distinguishable from police uniforms, and must wear prominent name tags that also identify them as ushers.
• On buses: Passengers shall not sit in the seats immediately behind or next to the driver unless a barrier at least 180 centimeters in height exists between the driver’s seat and the seats behind him. If these seats are reserved for people with disabilities, other nearby seats shall be allocated, which provide easy access.
• Passengers may not stand on intercity buses.
• Passengers may not stand near the driver on city buses on regular routes.
• Taxis: Passengers shall not sit next to the driver unless there is a plastic barrier between the driver’s seat and the adjacent passenger seat.
• In all transportation vehicles with windows that can be opened, the windows shall be opened.
• Trains: Passengers must have an entry pass for the trip which was ordered in advance together with the ticket. The entry pass will include the passenger’s identification number, boarding station, destination station, and the date and time of the trip. Israel Railways will keep in a secure manner the information it receives pursuant to this regulation, will make no other use of it other than to print entry passes and to deliver to the Health Ministry in order to carry out epidemiological tracing and will delete it 20 days after receiving it.
The Cabinet also passed regulations restricting the number of employees in the public sector.
The regulations specify that the number of employees in government offices, local authorities and religious councils shall not exceed 10 workers or 50 percent of the workforce at any one time, whichever is highest.
Activity in the private sector that does not receive the public shall continue as usual, as per the “purple badge standard” restrictions.
The Cabinet approved regulations designed to restrict the number of employees in government offices, local authorities and religious councils due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. As of 2 p.m. on Fri., Sept. 18, 2020, the public sector will shift to an emergency footing that will allow the provision of essential services to the public but will reduce personnel at workplaces to around 50 percent. The other employees will, as much as possible, work from home or under such employment conditions as have been agreed upon by the relevant Finance Ministry officials and the Histadrut.
In order to ensure essential activity at agencies and maintain the provision of essential services to the public, the Civil Service Commissioner, the Interior Ministry director-general and the Religious Services Ministry director-general will be able to order an increase in the quota of employees who are permitted to be in a workplace—in which the presence of employees is required—at any one time.
This restriction does not apply to the private sector, which will continue to operate according to the “purple badge standard” as long as no more than 10 people shall be present at meetings held at the workplace.
Support Jewish Journalism
with 2020 Vision
One of the most intriguing stories of the sudden Coronavirus crisis is the role of the internet. With individuals forced into home quarantine, most are turning further online for information, education and social interaction.
JNS's influence and readership are growing exponentially, and our positioning sets us apart. Most Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas. JNS is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.
During this crisis, JNS continues working overtime. We are being relied upon to tell the story of this crisis as it affects Israel and the global Jewish community, and explain the extraordinary political developments taking place in parallel.
Our ability to thrive in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters. Monthly donations in particular go a long way in helping us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make during these challenging times. We thank you for your ongoing support and wish you blessings for good health and peace of mind.