Israel largely reopens economy, lifts restrictions on returning citizens

Ministers approved a significant step in Israel’s reopening, allowing restaurants to resume business and opening the border to citizens stuck abroad.

By World Israel News Staff

On Saturday night, Israel’s corona cabinet approved Health Ministry regulations for the third phase for the nation’s exit plan, which began on Sunday.

The step marks a significant step in reopening Israel’s economy, affecting restaurants, school grades 7-10 in areas with low-to-medium infection rates, various attractions, and event halls, in addition to other facilities and institutions.

The new regulations also apply to Ben Gurion Airport, easing restrictions on entry to the country for citizens returning from abroad.

Most significantly, the new regulations eliminated rules requiring quarantine in state-run corona hotels and ended a period that began on January 25 during which the airport was closed to most flights and a government-run committee controlled entry to the country.

As of Sunday, 1,000 people per day can enter the country,  with that number set to increase to 3,000 later in the week.

“Designated flights for new immigrants whose immigration cannot be delayed, essential foreign workers and professional athletes shall not count toward the entry quota,” said a statement from the government on the regulations.

Under the new regulations, restaurants can seat indoors up to 100 people who hold “green passports” proving that they are vaccinated or had the coronavirus. As many as 100 people can be seated outside, without green passports.

“Restrictions on passengers in private vehicles are cancelled,” said the government statement, adding that “the requirement to question or measure temperatures at the entrance to public or commercial places is cancelled.”

The statement continued, “Pupils in grades 7-10 will return to classes in those areas in which classes are held for other grades (green, yellow and borderline orange areas, whose ranking is no more than 7 and in which at least 70% of people over 50 have been vaccinated).”

The new regulations also eased restrictions on houses of worship and tourist attractions, but provide fines of up to NIS 5,000 for violating the regulations.

The new regulations are valid until Saturday, Mar. 20, 2021, except for the education regulations, which will be in effect until Saturday, April 3, 2021.