After more than eight hours of a tense cabinet meeting on Sunday, the ministers approved a closure on Fridy, New Year's Eve, at 2 p.m that will last at least three weeks. This is in order to stop the surge in coronary heart disease in Israel.
Towards the end of the original closure period, a situation assessment will be conducted in which it will be decided whether to extend the closure. The closure was approved by a majority of votes in the yeshiva, and only Ministers Zeev Elkin and Assaf Zamir voted against. Ministers Itzik Shmuli and Ofir Akunis abstained, the rest supported. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the closure in a special statement.
Even before the end of the meeting, which began shortly after 12:00, it seemed that the outline approved by the Corona Cabinet last week - a full closure for two weeks and then a "tight restraint" for at least two more weeks - would not be fully approved. Many ministers opposed a full closure, despite Health Minister Yuli Edelstein's threats not to bring any other proposal in his place, if they turned the plan formulated by his office and Corona projector Prof. Roni Gamzo into "Swiss cheese."
The first change in the outline was the ministers' decision to leave the education system open until Friday, and not allow it to close as early as Wednesday, two days before the planned closure. Studies during the holidays will continue in the form of distance learning from kindergartens to twelfth grades - and this is a total of eight days. Special education was exempted from the restrictions during the closure period.
During the meeting it was also decided to postpone the start of the closure on Friday from 06:00 to 14:00, to allow the public to prepare for the holiday. Despite the government's opposition to restricting traffic from home, during the closure, citizens will not be able to go outside for more than 500 meters. Individual sports activities will be allowed. In a closed building, gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed, and in open spaces up to 20 people.
It was also decided that the private sector, with the exception of tourism and trade, would continue to work during the closure period according to the purple mark, and would be able to employ workers as it saw fit, without restrictions such as a scope of up to 30% or 50%. This is an achievement for Finance Minister Israel Katz, who opposed restrictions in the private sector. Essential businesses that were excluded in the first closure, in March and April, will also be excluded now. More businesses may be added to the list of exceptions. The public sector will operate in a limited format, and it has been decided that the Minister of Finance will prepare an outline for how it will operate during the closure period. On Thursday, the public will be presented with another economic plan to compensate the affected sectors.
From Friday, September 18, 2020, from 14:00, to October 11, 2020, and subject to the assessment of the disease situation and the approval of the Government at the end of two weeks from the date of commencement of the closure.
Steps to be taken:
Businesses without receiving an audience and businesses that provide essential services will be able to continue to operate according to the outline presented by the Minister of Finance.
2. Full closure of all businesses for reception in the field of trade, culture, recreation and leisure and domestic tourism, including swimming pools, gyms and restaurants (except - essential services, place to sell food, pharmacy, optics institute or store whose main occupation is selling hygiene products, shop For essential products for home maintenance, communication products, communication services and medical accessories). Businesses, including restaurants, will be allowed to operate a delivery service only.
3. Traffic restrictions of 500 meters from the place of residence. Leaving the house will only be allowed for permitted needs that will be specified in the regulations.
Closure of the education system, with the exception of special education, boarding schools and other exceptions as specified in the Corona Virus Special Powers Law. Distance learning will be possible as far as possible.
Gatherings - Limiting the gatherings according to the color red in the "traffic light" model - up to 10 people in a closed space, up to 20 in an open area.
In the second phase, Professor Roni Gamzo's traffic light program will be implemented. Switch to activities in accordance with the "traffic light" program at the end of the first phase, in accordance with an up-to-date examination of the disease picture and according to the decision of the Corona Cabinet.
* Public transportation activity will be reduced and adjusted to the scope of activity in the economy according to the same stage. The Supervisor of Transport will issue an instruction regarding the format of the activity for operating public transportation.
* Regarding aviation, a team headed by the Minister of Health or his representative and with the participation of representatives of the Minister of Transport, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chief of Staff of National Security or his representative will submit their recommendation by Monday evening.
* A team led by the Minister of Finance will present a financial assistance plan in accordance with the decisions made, by Thursday, September 17, 2020.
* It was also decided to extend the validity of the regulations (traffic light model and nocturnal closure regulations in the red areas) that have existed until now, until September 18, 2020, at 14:00 noon. From this date the restrictions as set out in this notice will apply.
The prayers on the holidays will be possible in a limited format. They will be held in an open space - in capsules of up to 20 people and a closed structure for up to ten worshipers.
Red areas - In a closed building, prayer will be allowed in groups of up to 10 people. The number of groups allowed in a closed area will be a derivative of the number of entrances to the building. The first two entrances are double 3, and each additional entrance is double 2, provided that a ratio of one person per 4 square meters of space is maintained.
In non-red areas - in a closed building, prayer will be allowed in groups of up to 25 people. The number of groups allowed in one closed area will be multiplied by 2 of the number of entrances to the building, provided that a ratio of one person per 4 square meters of the area is maintained.
Among those who opposed the closure was Finance Minister Israel Katz, who said a general closure on the economy would cause heavy damage to businesses and hundreds of thousands of other unemployed: "There is no reason not to allow businesses that adhere to the purple mark to continue their activities. "Illness is much greater than it is now. It is necessary to streamline the enforcement system to prevent violations and allow the economy to continue to operate." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened a press conference tonight (Sunday) and rejected allegations of the government's failure to fight the plague. "The reason for the closure is that people are not getting to the respirators. It's starting to get hard because you lose the other patients, heart injuries and other problems. The problem is not the respirators 'equipment, the problem is the crews' ability to keep running. Some of them really fall off their feet, "We moved from 30 red cities to 70. We doubled the level of morbidity and it continues to rise."