In his last speech as Health Minister, Yuli Edelstein (Likud) announced his intention to abolish the obligation to wear facemasks in enclosed spaces. Since then, the ministry has formulated the final procedure for this outline: the masks will come off in all places of commerce, offices, educational institutions, and most other public places.
With only four new verified cases of the coronavirus in the country, and with 30 patients still hospitalized, 20 of whom ventilated, with 5,479,334 Israelis receiving the first vaccine dose and 5,144,382 the second, the pandemic, or at least this phase of it, is officially over.
The Health Ministry’s Director-General Prof. Hezi Levy has signed an amendment to the Public Health Order that abolishes the obligation to wear a mask as of Tuesday, June 15, 2021, except in the following cases:
1. Unvaccinated guests and employees in long-term welfare and health institutions, as well as in nursing homes, due to their being at a high risk of catching the virus.
2. Individuals on their way to a prescribed quarantine stay.
3. Individuals onboard a flight.
The epidemic treatment team at the Health Ministry delayed their final decision until they were certain that there is no dramatic change in the status of the pandemic, such as the invasion of Israel by a vaccine-resistant variant, but in the end, they were convinced that they could rely on the country’s low morbidity and approved the removal of the masks.
Health and education officials sparred recently over the rules for school students: should they or shouldn’t they be excluded from the new facemask decision. The rationale behind the proposed requirement to continue wearing masks in educational institutions was that most students are not vaccinated, but over opposition from the education system and officials in the Health Ministry, it was finally decided to allow students to remove the masks on school grounds.