Corona: Israel Mulls Slow Return to Normalcy
Defense Minister urges allowing economic activity to gradually resume
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet on Thursday spent six hours discussing the resumption of the country’s economic life. It was finally decided that as of next week, factories can reopen and trade should resume in stages. Israelis will also be permitted to move up to 500 meters (about a third of a mile) from their homes for the purpose of exercise, but should still avoid congregating in public.
These measures were approved at the request of Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, who stressed that it was necessary to let Israel’s economy breathe again as soon as possible in order to avoid irreparable damage.
But while many businesses and some shops will be allowed to reopen, they must adhere to strict regulations for the time being. For example, anyone entering the premises must be wearing a face mask, must have their temperature taken at the entrance, and must maintain a distance of two meters (about six feet) from others. Offices and places of business must also be regularly disinfected, and employees over the age of 50 must be closely monitored and cared for.
Shopping malls, beauty salons and schools will remain closed for now, and Israelis over the age of 65 should continue to remain at home.
There was also discussion of having the Israeli army get involved in administering coronavirus tests to more quickly cover a larger portion of the population.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Israel rose to 12,855 on Friday morning. Of these, 182 patients are in serious condition. The number of Israeli to have died of COVID-19 now stands at 148.