Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
Police interrogate drivers at a temporary checkpoint on Route 1, leading to Jerusalem, to verify that motorists are not disobeying the government's guidelines on coronavirus restrictions.

The Netanyahu cabinet on Tuesday afternoon approved emergency regulations on the restriction of activity in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in Israel during the Passover period.

During Passover there is concern regarding a significant increase in rates of infection and their long-range effects. The regulations include a further reduction on going out into the public sphere until after the holiday as well as restrictions on places of work.

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According to the regulations approved by the Cabinet, starting at 7 PM Tuesday, until 6 AM Friday, no one may leave the community in which they live unless it is to buy food, medicine or other essential products, or to receive essential services that are otherwise unobtainable in their home community (In Jerusalem, the municipal area will be divided into several sections.)

It is further determined that from 8 PM Tuesday until 8 AM Sunday, all public transportation services, as well as international passenger flights, will be halted. International passenger flights will be able to operate only upon advance approval from the Transportation and Interior ministers. The operation of designated transportation services for workers, pursuant to the directives, will be permitted as will be taxis, pursuant to the directives and for essential needs only.

Within that time frame, from 3 PM Wednesday until 7 AM Thursday, the buying of food will also be prohibited. The Cabinet reiterates that citizens are called upon to celebrate Passover in their homes.

These restrictions will not apply to communities which are not majority-Jewish.

Going to supermarkets and grocery stores will be allowed on until 3 PM.

Children may be transported between parents who live in different homes.

Included in the regulations is expanded enforcement authority for the Israel Police which is now entitled to prevent a person or vehicle from leaving a community, require all persons to provide identification upon leaving their community, and detain them according to law.

Health Ministry Director General Moshe Bar Siman Tov on Tuesday signed a public health order requiring all persons in any place that is not their home to cover their mouth and nose with a mask designated for that purpose or other mask according to Health Ministry directives. Mouth-nose masks significantly reduce the risk of infection; they prevent the escape of droplets and prevent them from reaching the mouth or nose.

The foregoing regarding masks shall not apply to minors under the age of 6; the mentally disabled; anyone with a significant medical condition that would make it difficult to use a mask; anyone in a vehicle, structure or room in a structure without anyone else or only with people who live with them; anyone participating in a media broadcast in which they are required to speak on air, provided that they maintain a distance of two meters from any other person; or two employees who regularly work together in one room or workplace, provided that they maintain the required distance according to the directives.

The public order requiring masks will take effect at 7 AM on Sunday.

The Cabinet also approved an amendment to the emergency regulations on the number of employees at a workplace in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the amendment, private sector businesses in communities the majority of whose residents are Jewish will not allow workers to be present at the workplace over the holiday except in unique cases in which the presence of employees is required to carry out essential or urgent work, provided that they constitute no more than 15% of the overall work force (or 30% if the employer duly notified the Economy and Industry Ministry). This amendment shall be in effect from 3 PM Wednesday, until 8 AM Friday, whereupon the instructions in the principal regulations shall go back into force.

The aforesaid amendment will not apply to workplaces that provide existential services, that are engaged in infrastructure work and construction, and factories that have been defined as essential to the Israeli economy. Regarding factories that have special permits to employ workers during hours of rest, the restriction that shall apply will be the one determined in their permit.

This amendment will expire at 6 AM on Friday, whereupon the instructions in the principal regulations shall go back into force.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.