04-24-2020 CBN News Emily Jones
JERUSALEM, Israel – Retail stores and other businesses will be allowed to open their doors as early as Friday after the Israeli government approved a further rollback of lockdown restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus outbreak.
Government ministers approved the new measures Friday afternoon and will allow businesses including hairdressers, jewelry shops, money exchangers, and restaurants that do delivery and takeout to open.
Some small businesses were allowed to open earlier this week as long as they could prove they would follow the Health Ministry’s strict sanitation and hygiene guidelines. Related
Israelis are still required to wear face masks in public. Meanwhile, large shopping centers, malls, and entertainment centers will remain shuttered, The Jerusalem Postreports.
Elementary schools and kindergartens could open as early as May 5, the Times of Israelreports.
“One step at a time, the education system is returning to routine,” said Education Minister Rafi Peretz. “We are doing everything we can to get the education system running again and the return of administrative teams to schools is another step in that direction.”
“We are ready to gradually return to routine, albeit in small groups and in a rotational capacity,” Peretz added. “If businesses and shopping centers are opening, there is no reason why the education system should not reopen as well, even if it must be in a different format.”
The Bank of Israel said Thursday that the complete closure of the education system was costing the economy about $737 million per week because many families were forced to keep one parent at home to watch their children.
However, Israel’s Health Ministry warns the opening of schools could cause the outbreak to spread.
“The reinstatement of the education system will come at the cost of human lives,” Health Ministry deputy director Itamar Grotto told Army Radio on Thursday.
As of Friday morning, more than 14,800 Israelis have been infected with COVID-19 and 192 people have died.
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