Israel to Reopen Restaurants Starting May 27 as Coronavirus Cases Remain Low

The Health Ministry says there will still be no live performances in clubs, with event halls to reopen on June 14

Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati
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A closed restaurant is seen at a shopping center in Hadera, March 15, 2020
A closed restaurant is seen at a shopping center in Hadera, March 15, 2020Credit: Ariel Schalit / AP
Ido Efrati
Ido Efrati

Restaurants, bars and clubs will be able to reopen on May 27, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday. After a meeting between representatives of the Health and Finance ministries with the heads of the restaurant association, it was decided that DJs can play music in clubs during the first stage of reopening, but live performances will still be banned.

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Restaurants, bars and clubs that have room for up to 100 people will have no further limits on the number of customers allowed. Those with room for over 100 people will be allowed to let in 85 percent of their full capacity, the Health Ministry said. In venues with outdoor seating areas, a distance of at least one meter will have to be kept between people. Businesses will also have to measure the temperature of all customers when entering the restaurant.

The Health Ministry framework for getting the economy back to work placed restaurants, bars and clubs at the bottom of the list of priorities, because of the fear that overcrowding would lead to further coronavirus infections. The ministry had originally planned on allowing restaurants to reopen only as of June 15, while the Finance Ministry’s proposal had them reopening on May 31.

Newly-appointed Health Minister Yuli Edelstein approved the opening of event halls and gardens beginning on June 14. These businesses will have to appoint a person responsible for ensuring all the rules are followed, sign in guests at the entrance, place signs concerning social distancing between guests, measure the temperatures of guests and employees at the entrance and question them about their health. In addition, this person will be responsible for ensuring regular cleaning and disinfection of the premises, the wearing of masks – except while eating and drinking – along with additional rules.

Meanwhile, mosques will be allowed to reopen all over the country on May 27, the Interior Ministry decided. The Islamic Waqf announced the Al-Aqsa Mosque would reopen after the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of the month-long Ramadan fast. The Waqf said it would issue rules about prayer services and hygiene at the mosque after the holiday vacation.

The limitations on public transportation during peak travel times will be lifted starting on Wednesday, announced new Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Edelstein. The two ministers agreed that public transportation would operate without restrictions between 7:00 A.M. and 8:30 A.M. and from 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. to allow students to travel to school and back.

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