Israel’s new coronavirus restrictions go into effect

PM Netanyahu announced Monday evening significant restrictions on the public, which include barring public gatherings of more than two people who are not in the same immediate family.

The Cabinet approved the emergency regulations to limit activity in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus in Israel.

  • No gathering will be allowed, including for prayers and weddings, in the public sphere. One minyan (quorum) of ten men, at two meters’ distance from each other, will be allowed at the Western Wall for each prayer service. Funerals will be held in open areas only, with the participation of up to 20 people. Circumcisions will be held with the participation of up to ten people. The regulation regarding weddings will take effect on 1 April 2020, at 08:00.
  • Before an employee reach his/her place of work, he/she will take their temperature and fill out a declaration to that effect and attesting to the absence of symptoms (temperature of over 38 degrees Celsius, cough, breathing difficulties). Employees will go to their place of work with a filled-out form for that day. For workers who are not employed at a place of business, the statement can be made orally.
  • At any workplace where it is not possible to maintain a distance of two meters between employees, the employer will make other arrangements to prevent infection.
  • Each employee will be allocated with personal equipment on a permanent basis to the extent possible. Equipment used by more than one person will undergo strict disinfection before being passed from person to person.
  • Employees will be instructed to strictly maintain rules of hygiene, including handwashing.
  • Employees will be instructed that no more than two people at a time may use an elevator at a workplace.
  • Businesses for the repair of communications products and computers will be permitted to receive clients at the place of business pursuant to Health Ministry directives. Delivery services are permitted for all types of products pursuant to Health Ministry directives.
  • Regarding the owners of shops in retail markets –
    The owner of a shop in a retail market is permitted to open an online shop from which he/she can supply products by delivery service only, on condition that the market and the shop itself are closed to the public.
  • Regarding individuals going outside – The Cabinet decided that leaving one’s place of residence will be permitted for an individual or people who live in the same home, for a short period, and for a distance of up to 100 meters from the place of residence.

Emergency Regulations (Restriction on Number of Employees at a Workplace in Order to Reduce the Spread of the New Coronavirus; Amendment)

  • No more than ten employees or 15% of the work force, whichever is highest, shall be in a place of work at one time. Despite the foregoing, an employer shall be allowed to temporarily increase the maximum number of permitted employees at a workplace to 30% of the workforce as long as the increase is essential for ongoing activity at the workplace, and the employer informs the Ministry of Economy and Industry Director General of the names and responsibilities of the employees whose presence is required at the workplace, as well as the reasons why their presence is required. (The foregoing is for non-essential workplaces.)
  • The director general of a business defined as essential shall not allow administrative employees to report except in cases where their presence is vital.
  • Reception hours shall not be allowed at a workplace except for the supply of essential products and services only and provided that the number of service providers is minimized. (The foregoing is for non-essential workplaces.)
  • At a workplace in which people are usually employed in shifts, the employer shall – to the extent possible – keep the same workers on the same shifts.
  • Preparations by the Public Sector for Work on an Emergency Footing during the Coronavirus Crisis (Amendment of Cabinet Decision)

    • In order to reduce the number of public sector employees at their places of work, it has been determined that as of tomorrow (Wednesday, 1 April 2020), director generals will not allow the entry or presence of essential employees at a workplace in the amount of over 20% of the workforce.
    • All exceptions will require the Director General to file a report with the Civil Service Commissioner on the number of additional essential employees whose presence is vital, and the requisite reasons.
    • The Cabinet approved the addition of supervisors from the public sector who are authorized to levy fines, who are not essential workers in their ministries, in order to assist in enforcing the orders and regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

About 600 IDF soldiers and commanders from training bases will help Israel Police enforce the Health Ministry restrictions. The soldiers will wear an Israeli flag tag and will not be armed, their commanders will be.

The commander of the Golani Brigade’s training told his soldiers that  “we trained you to fight against enemies in Lebanon, Syria, Judea, and Samaria and Gaza. This time you are fighting a slightly different enemy- the coronavirus. We have to complete the mission the best and most professional way, it’s our duty.”

In addition, the IDF has allocated some 1,000 soldiers to provide food and assistance to the elderly and other at-risk populations around the country in cooperation with Municipalities, regional councils and the Health Ministry.

The move, which is part of an agreement between the PM’s Office and the defense ministry, will see one commander and four soldiers assigned to each person requiring assistance.

The number of coronavirus infections in Israel has risen to 4,831 as of Tuesday morning. 83 people in serious condition, another 95 in moderate condition and the vast majority of cases in light condition. 163 people have completely recovered from the virus.

Two women, one 49 years old, the other 50, both suffering from underlying health conditions, died from coronavirus on Tuesday, bringing the tally of deaths to 18.

The women are the youngest reported to have died from the virus in Israel so far.

About 600 IDF soldiers and commanders from training bases will help Israel Police enforce the Health Ministry restrictions. The soldiers will wear an Israeli flag tag and will not be armed, their commanders will be.