Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
A young shopper at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem during the lockdown, October 9, 2020.

News 12 presenter Keren Marciano on Saturday night revealed the government’s plan for a staggering ending of the countrywide lockdown:

  • Oct. 18: Opening of kindergartens, both government-run and in the private sector
  • Nov. 1: Opening of grades 1-4
  • Nov. 15: Opening of mall stores and gyms
  • Nov. 29: Opening of restaurants and cafes
  • Dec. 13: Opening of hotels and B&Bs
  • Dec. 27: Opening of leisure and culture centers as well as museums
  • Jan. 10: Opening of 5th-12th grades

Naturally, if at any point during this period of reviving public life in the country new outbreaks are detected, the lockdown would be re-imposed.

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That’s the leaked plan, but, of course, the best-laid plans of mice and men and public health managers often go awry. Unrest is growing among small business owners who demand that their operations be allowed to resume right now, in light of the decline in morbidity. By “decline” they refer to the last two days, in which only some 2,500 and 2,000 new patients tested positive for the coronavirus. Prior to that, the numbers were still in the 5,000 range, and it’s possible that Friday’s and Saturday’s better results had to do with the fact that there are fewer tests in Israel on Fridays and Saturdays, especially when last Friday was also Hoshana Rabba.

A Jerusalem woman gets a fine from Israeli police officers after she was seen walking in the street with no mask in the center of Jerusalem on July 03, 2020. / Olivier Fitoussi / Flash 90

In short, Israeli police and municipal inspectors are expected to deal on Sunday morning with a sweeping civil uprising against the government’s lockdown guidelines. It is expected to be the most comprehensive and well organized social initiative by small business owners since the start of the pandemic.

One group, “Lo yihiyeh beseger” (There will be no lockdown, a Hebrew pun on the words Beseder-fine and Seger-lockdown), which was founded by a group of small business owners a month ago and has since gained about 60,000 members over Facebook, has called on all small business owners in Israel to open their stores and services to the public starting Sunday morning, according to the Purple Tag rules (only 1 to 3 customers at a time depending on size; facemasks and hand cleansing a must).

It’s a protest against the conduct of the government that decided on the current lockdown which inflicted extremely heavy economic damage on their businesses.

The group’s leaders emphasize: “We are not Corona deniers or anarchists, but citizens for whom the future of the state is important, for the livelihood of our children.”

Tomer Mor, CEO of “Strong Restaurateurs Together,” another pandemic lockdown-generated Facebook group, announced the support of restaurateurs and cafe owners of the struggle to reopen businesses.

“We support the There will be no lockdown struggle and the right of business owners to make a living,” Mor stated. “The lockdown of the businesses is unnecessary, and it would have been possible to maintain public health without crushing businesses and restaurants. We demand that the government take immediate action to open all restaurants for takeaway and outdoor seating, with strict safeguarding of the public health,” Moore insisted.

Meanwhile, the government seems to be succumbing to pressure, at least in one area: with the overcrowding created at bus stops and on the buses themselves, the Transport Ministry decided that starting Sunday, public transportation will begin to return to almost its full capacity. Most inter-city lines will be raised to their full schedule, except on weekends. The buses will continue to operate with a 50% occupancy, as will the Sherut taxis, the light rail, and Israel Railways. Travel on Israel Railways will continue to require purchasing a ticket in advance.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.