Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
Shaare Zedek medical center security guard, September 14, 2020.

Late Thursday morning, we received the latest press release from the Prime Minister’s office, the Health Ministry, and the Finance Ministry, following Wednesday night’s conference call of the coronavirus cabinet, pursuant to its decision from last Sunday regarding a tightened outline for lowering morbidity starting 2 PM Friday, approved regulations for dealing with the coronavirus, as well as regulations to limit the number of employees in the public sector. The regulations detail the precise rules that must be adhered to while the outline is in force.

For the record, at least one Knesset committee is debating these new restrictions, but it’s is generally expected that the following decrees will hold.



One may go out from one’s residence up to a distance of 500 meters only.

This restriction enables going out into the public sphere (including parks and playgrounds) up to 500 meters.

It is also possible to go beyond the 500-meter range and back home for one of the following objectives:

  • Employees / soldiers going to their place of work
  • Buying medicine, food and essential products and services
  • Helping someone in distress or who has some difficulty
  • Medical, psychological or complementary medical treatment (with one patient only) and going to social welfare frameworks and essential social care
  • Going to the Knesset, a demonstration, a judicial proceeding or to donate blood
  • Going out for exercise by one person or people who live together – without restrictions as to distance, provided that one’s starting point is one’s residence and not a vehicle
  • Going to funeral or circumcision
  • One conducting prayers (a cantor or shofar blower) who has received a permit from the Religious Services Ministry in order to attend High Holiday prayers
  • Essential treatment for animals
  • Transferring a minor between parents who do not live together or transferring a minor to the care of another person if a single parent is going out for an essential need
  • Going to permitted educational activity (special education, children of essential workers)
  • Going to the airport for an overseas flight, 8 hours before the flight
  • People with disabilities in sheltered housing or other residential programs may go out to visit first-degree relatives, who may also visit them
  • First-degree relatives of fallen soldiers from the Yom Kippur War may go to memorial services

It should be clarified that going to prayers, even according to the outline for the high holidays, is subject to the 500-meter rule.

From Wednesday, 23 September 2020, until Thursday, 1 October 2020, one may leave one’s residence in order to purchase the four species, materials for building a sukkah and to do the custom of kapparot.


  • It is prohibited to be in a residence of another person (except for some permitted purpose, such as carrying out work or assisting someone with a difficulty)
  • It is prohibited to be on the beach except for permitted exercise only (by one person or people who live together, who came from their residence and not via a vehicle)


  • Prohibition of gatherings – up to 10 people in a structure and 20 in an open area
  • Maintaining 2 meters’ distance between people as much as possible
  • Restrictions on the number of passengers in a vehicle – up to 3 people (except for people who live together) and 1 additional passenger per additional backseat row


It is prohibited to open businesses and places open to the public (including commerce, restaurants, swimming pools, gyms, barbershops, beauty parlors, places of recreation and hotels) as well as reception hours at places of work. There is no restriction on employees entering places of work provided that said place of work is not open to the public (for example, to carry out maintenance work, arrange merchandise, etc.)


  • Essential stores: Food stores, opticians, pharmacies, hygiene products, home maintenance products, laundries, communications products and repair shops for communications devices and computers
  • Reception in essential places of work for essential services that cannot be obtained remotely (post offices, banks, etc.)
  • Hotels and guesthouses – When the same are serving as alternate residences (long- or short-term) for people renting the place (such foreign workers, etc.) – without use of public spaces, pools, etc. This exception includes hotels for people in quarantine or those hotels designated for use by people receiving treatment and their families, adjacent to a medical institution
  • A place for professional athletic training which has been approved by the Culture and Sports Ministry Director General

It should be clarified that it is permitted to operate food stores and essential stores (as detailed above) only, in malls or open-air markets.


It is permitted to go to a place in the public sphere where prayers are being held provided that it is no more than 500 meters from one’s residence.

In open areas – In regular groups of up to 20 people, with distance between the groups and physical demarcation, empty places between people who do not live together , and no serving of food.

In structures – Areas with regular groups of 10/25 people (depending on the area being orange or red), with plastic between the areas, the maintaining of distance between the areas, the posting of signs regarding the number of worshipers, the size of the place, the applicable rules, two chairs’ distance between worshipers and no serving of food.


  • Red areas – 30 people for the first two entrances, 20 people for each additional entrance
  • Orange areas – 50 people per entrance

In any case, the number of worshipers present shall not exceed 1 person per 4 square meters of space in places designated for prayer


  • City buses on regular routes – 32 passengers
  • Inter-city buses on regular routes – 30 passengers
  • Accordion buses on regular routes – 50 passengers
  • Minibuses – 50% of the number given in the license
  • The Haifa Carmelit underground – 50% of spaces
  • Chartered buses – 30 passengers
  • All other ground vehicles – 50% of the number given in the license
  • Taxis – The driver and either 1 or 2 passengers, if one of the passengers is someone who needs an escort, except for people who live together.


  • Passengers in ground transportation vehicles may not eat while they are in the vehicle unless it necessary to maintain health
  • Passengers in public transportation will pay for the ride by validating their ticket themselves and not by purchasing tickets from the driver; however, senior citizens, people accompanying the blind and passengers on bulletproof buses in Judea and Samaria will be able to purchase tickets from the driver
  • Those operating ground transportation vehicles shall employ ushers to assist in maintaining these rules. The ushers shall were clothing that identifies the operating company and which is distinguishable from police uniforms and will wear prominent name tags that also identify them as ushers
  • On buses: Passengers shall not sit in the seats immediately behind or next to the driver unless there is a barrier at least 180 centimeters in height between the driver’s seat and the seats behind him. If these seats are reserved for people with disabilities, other nearby seats shall be allocated, which provide easy access
  • Passengers may not stand on inter-city buses
  • Passengers may not stand near the driver on city buses on regular routes
  • Taxis: Passengers shall not sit next to the driver unless there is a plastic barrier between the driver’s seat and the adjacent passenger seat
  • In all transportation vehicles with windows that can be opened, the windows shall be opened
  • Trains: An entry pass for the trip which was ordered in advance together with the ticket

The train entry pass will include the passenger’s identification number, boarding station, destination station, and the date and time of the trip. Israel Railways will keep in a secure manner the information it receives pursuant to this regulation, will make no other use of it other than to print entry passes and to deliver to the Health Ministry in order to carry out epidemiological tracing and will delete it 20 days after receiving it.

The Cabinet also passed regulations restricting the number of employees in the public sector.

The regulations specify that the number of employees in government offices, local authorities and religious councils shall not exceed 10 workers or 50% of the workforce at any one time, whichever is highest.

Activity in the private sector that does not receive the public shall continue as usual, as per the ‘purple badge standard’ restrictions.

The Cabinet approved regulations designed to restrict the number of employees in government offices, local authorities and religious councils due to the outbreak of the coronavirus. As of 2 PM Friday, the public sector will shift to an emergency footing that will allow the provision of essential services to the public but will reduce personnel at workplaces to around 50%. The other employees will, as much as possible, work from home or under such employment conditions as have been agreed upon by the relevant Finance Ministry officials and the Histadrut.

In order to ensure essential activity at agencies and maintaining the provision of essential services to the public, the Civil Service Commissioner, the Interior Ministry Director General and the Religious Services Ministry Director General will be able to order an increase in the quota of employees who are permitted to be in a workplace – in which the presence of employees is required – at any one time.

This restriction does not apply to the private sector, which will continue to operate according to the voluntary purple badge standard as long as no more than 10 people shall be present at meetings held at the workplace.


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