Israel Tightens COVID Restrictions on Gatherings, Expands Proof of Immunity Scheme

The new restrictions require Israelis aged three and older to adhere to the Green Pass rules, which involve proving immunity by presenting a negative COVID test, vaccination or recovery proof

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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People wearing face masks to help fight the spread of coronavirus walk past shops in a market in Jerusalem August 11, 2021.
People wearing face masks to help fight the spread of coronavirus walk past shops in a market in Jerusalem August 11, 2021.Credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The coronavirus cabinet approved on Wednesday expanding the Green Pass proof of immunity program to apply to Israelis aged three and up, as well as limiting gatherings. The new restrictions will go into effect next Wednesday.

Events in private homes or venues that are excluded from the Green Pass, which bars access from those not vaccinated or recovered, can have up to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

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Venues that are covered by the Green Pass scheme can hold up to 1,000 people indoors and up to 5,000 outdoors.

The scheme applies to the majority of venues, both public and private institutions, including swimming pools, fitness centers, academic institutions, all cultural and sports events, exhibitions and conferences, museums, libraries, restaurants and hotels.

Malls and shopping centers, however, are not bound by it.

The government also agreed on covering the costs of coronavirus testing of children up to age 12 as rapid-testing stations are being set up nationwide over the next several days.

Children over the age of 12 who haven’t been vaccinated must take a COVID test. Tests for individuals 12 and up whom haven't been inoculated will be paid out of pocket and will no longer be offered for free.

The green pass will now be needed to enter both public and private institutionsCredit: Ohad Zwigenberg

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Wednesday that health authorities should prepare for the possibility that a third dose of the COVID vaccine would be offered to people as young as 45, compared with 60 at present.

Nachman Ash, the director general of the Health Ministry, urged the public on Monday to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. “Immunization can help us avoid a lockdown,” Ash said.

The latest Green Pass rules went into effect earlier this week, requiring people entering facilities or events to present the pass regardless of the number of people on site. The only exceptions are houses of worship, for which the rules apply only where there are 50 or more people on site. In addition, the mask mandate was extended to outdoor events of more than 100 people.

The new Green Pass rules allows entry to events and facilities, whether they are in or outdoors, only to those who have been vaccinated, recovered from COVID and show a negative coronavirus test. The rapid test is now admissible, so long as it was taken within 24 hours of the event. A PCR test can be used as well, so long as it was taken 72 hours before the events.

These rules currently apply only to people age 12 and over. Starting August 20, children under the age of 12 will be required to present a negative COVID test anywhere the Green Pass program is enforced.

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