Pools, brews and menus: Israel relaxes more COVID-19 restrictions


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Restaurants and bars, hotels and wedding halls, and swimming pools reopened as Israel continues to relax restrictions that had been put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In addition, museums, amusement parks and tourist attractions also were allowed to reopen Wednesday after the final go-ahead on Tuesday evening from the Cabinet.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an announcement Tuesday evening called it “happy news.”

“First, we want to help the economy – the business owners and the self-employed who have hoped for this moment,” he said. “Second, we want to make your lives easier, to allow you to go out and get some air, to go back to routine as much as possible, to drink a cup a coffee, and to have a beer as well.

“So, first of all, enjoy yourselves, but we are monitoring developments, including the trends in morbidity; we are prepared accordingly. I hope that we will not have to make changes.”

The loosening of regulations also allows an increased number of people in malls and retail stores and working in offices, though still wearing masks and keeping a social distance of about 6 feet between people.  The number of people who will be allowed to ride a public bus also has increased, though trains have not started running again.

The number of worshippers allowed in a synagogue was increased to 70.

Israel has had a total of 16,757 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 281 deaths. There were 23 new cases reported on Wednesday.

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