Israel’s lockdown rules, effective from September 18 at 2 p.m.

The cabinet on Sunday approved the Health Ministry plan for a three-week lockdown in an attempt to halt the spread of the resurgent coronavirus pandemic in Israel.

The following are the rules approved, according to a joint statement from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Health Ministry:

First stage

Effective Friday, 18 September 2020, from 14:00, and until 11 October 2020, and subject to an assessment of the morbidity situation, and approval by the Cabinet two weeks after the start of the lockdown.

Steps to be taken:

1. Businesses that do not receive the public and which provide essential services may continue operating according to the outline to be presented by the Finance Ministry.

In coordination with the Health Minister, the Prime Minister’s Office Director General, and the Alternate Prime Minister’s Office Director General (regarding the work of government ministries – also with the Civil Service Commissioner; regarding local authorities – also with the Interior Minister), the Finance Minister will submit for Corona Cabinet approval regulations regarding the restriction and reduction of presence at places of work (in the public and private sectors).

2. The full closure of all businesses that receive the public in the fields of commerce, culture, recreation and domestic tourism, including swimming pools. Gyms and restaurants (except for essential services, places for the sale of food, pharmacies, opticians or stores that deal mostly in hygiene products, stores for essential home maintenance products, communications products and medical devices).

Businesses, including restaurants, shall be permitted to operate delivery services only.

Stacked chairs outside a restaurant on Jaffa Street in Jerusalem on July 17, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

3. Movement in leaving one’s home shall be restricted to 500 meters, except for essential needs to be detailed in the regulations.

4. Closure of the education system, except for special education, boarding schools and additional exceptions as detailed in the legislation regarding special authority in dealing with the coronavirus. (Remote learning will be enabled as much as possible.)

5. Gatherings – restriction of gatherings according to the color red in the ‘traffic light’ model – up to 10 people in a closed space and up to 20 in an open area.

Second stage: Traffic light plan

The transition to activity according to the ‘traffic light’ plan at the conclusion of the first stage will depend on an updated assessment of the morbidity situation and the decision of the Corona Cabinet.

* The activity of public transportation will be reduced and adapted to the scope of activity in the economy in each stage. The Supervisor of Traffic will issue a directive regarding the format of activity for the operation of public transportation.

* Regarding air travel, a team headed by the Health Minister or his representative, and with the participation of representatives of the Transportation Minister, the Interior Minister, the Foreign Minister, and the head of the National Security Council, or his representative, will issue their recommendation on the issue by Monday evening, 14 September 2020.

The empty arrival hall at the Ben Gurion airport on June 12, 2020. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

* A team headed by the Finance Minister will present an economic assistance plan in accordance with the decisions that have been made, by Thursday, 17 September 2020.

* It was decided to extend the validity of the ‘traffic light’ plan that has been in effect until now, to 14:00 on Thursday, 18 September 2020. From that time, the restrictions listed in this announcement shall apply.

Special outline for holiday prayers

* In open areas – in capsules of up to 20 people

* In closed structures:

Red areas: Prayer shall be permitted in closed structures in groups of up to 10 people. The permitted number of groups in a closed area shall be a function of the number of entrances to the structure. The first two entrances multiplied by 3 and each additional entrance multiplied by 2, on condition that the ratio of one person per 4 square meters of space of the place is maintained.

For example, in a house of prayer in a red area, that is 250 square meters in size and has 2 entrances – it will be possible to pray in 6 capsules of 10 people each. 10 people in each capsule, 2 entrances times 3 yields 60 people for the structure, while maintaining the ratio of one person per 4 square meters of space. In a structure of 500 square meters with 5 entrances, 12 capsules of 10 people each shall be permitted to pray. In a structure of 70 square meters with 1 entrance, 1 capsule of 10 people shall be permitted to pray due to the limitations of the place.

In areas that are not red: in closed structures, prayer shall be permitted in groups of up to 25 people. The permitted number of groups in a closed space shall be double the number of entrances to the structure on condition that the ratio of one person per 4 square meters of space of the place is maintained.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews keep social distancing and wearing face masks during prayer next to their houses as synagogues are limited to twenty people following the government’s measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, in Bnei Brak, Sept 8, 2020 (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

For example, in a house of prayer in a yellow area that is 400 square meters in size and which has two entrance doors, it shall be permitted to have 4 capsules of 25 people each (25 people in each capsule, 2 entrances multiplied by 2, yields 100 people in the structure while maintaining the ratio of one person per 4 square meters of space.

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