Pubs, pools and restaurants open in Israel

Israel lightened its restrictions, allowing eateries to finally open. 

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Owners of pubs, pools and restaurants got the word last night. They can open on Wednesday. Tourist attractions, cable cars and water sports also were given the thumbs up. Amusement parks will remain closed until June 14, however.

Patrons of eateries and watering holes will have to follow health guidelines, including wearing masks, social distancing and general hygiene.

Restaurants with a 100 maximum capacity will only be permitted to allow 85 percent of that number at any one time in their establishments.

In pools, swimmers must maintain a distance of six meters.

In cable cars, only half the maximum number will be allowed and only up to a limit of 20 people.

Establishments that don’t follow the rules will be subject to a 2,000 shekel fine. Larger event halls will face a harsher fine of 5,000 shekels.

An open question is whether people will follow the rules as restrictions relax.

Channel 11 conducted a test where it used dust only visible in ultraviolet light as a stand-in for the coronavirus to see what would happen at a restaurant.

Volunteers entered the restaurant for the test. Two of them had the dust on their hands.

The report found that if health guidelines were followed and people maintained their distance the dust was relatively contained, though it still spread to the bathroom door handles and within the restrooms themselves, pointing to the difficulty of opening public spaces while still avoiding the virus.

When people started to interact, the dust quickly spread everywhere.

Israel’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 28 percent and is not expected to return to its pre-pandemic figures for some time.

The two sectors of the economy hardest hit are service industries, such as hospitality and food services, and arts and entertainment.

To help artists, the Tel Aviv- Yafo municipality and the Yehoshua Rabinowitz Foundation for the Arts are presenting “Exit Strategies,” an art exhibition of 40 works of art and artistic experiences scattered across the city.

The artistic event will take place on Thursday evening and Friday.

The artists will present their works created in the spirit of the coronavirus and the thoughts that arose during the confinement.

In another step toward easing, the joint command center that had been set up by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in March reduced its operations, making the event with a ceremony on Tuesday.

The joint command will continue its operations for the next year and a half but on a reduced basis in the event a second wave of the virus appears.