After a scandal, Argentina allows mikvahs to stay open


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) — Days after Argentine police raided a mikvah in Buenos Aires for disobeying coronavirus shutdown orders, local Orthodox rabbis and government authorities agreed on a system that will allow the ritual baths to stay open.

During the morning of a day that a participant wishes to use a mikvah, she or he must send the government their information, including their health status and which mikvah they will use. The participant will receive a personal code from the government that will allow them to enter.

The protocol was endorsed in a statement signed Tuesday by Argentina’s chief Sephardic rabbi, Yosef Chehebar; chief Ashkenazi rabbi, Gabriel Davidovich; Rabbi Daniel Oppenheimer of Ajdut Israel; the head of the Chabad-Lubavitch movement in Argentina, Rabbi Tzvi Grunblatt; and Ariel Eichelbaum, president of the AMIA Jewish center.

The procedure guarantees the safety of those working at the mikvahs and keeps in place the country’s social distancing policy.

Argentina has ordered all citizens to remain at home, except for essential services, until March 31.

On Tuesday, the country’s Health Ministry said that 86 new cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed over the previous 24 hours, the highest daily figure of the pandemic to date. The South American country has had 387 people infected with the virus and seven deaths.

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