Israel’s Coronavirus Cabinet convened Sunday evening for the body’s first meeting in roughly two months.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called the meeting last week, amid pressure from Health Ministry officials to deliberate on a slate of new recommendations by the Ministry.

During the meeting Sunday, the Cabinet voted against a plan presented by the Health Ministry to drop outdoor venues from the Green Pass system. Under the Health Ministry plan, outdoor venues would return to the Purple Pass system, requiring social distancing and limits on the number of attendees, with no requirement to check vaccinations status or proof of recovery.

The Coronavirus Cabinet also voted Sunday to begin enforcement of the Green Pass requirement at businesses starting this Thursday.

Most public venues, with several key exceptions, will be required to scan patrons’ Green Passes starting Tuesday, after roughly two million Israelis lost their Green Passes with the expiration of the validity of most second doses of the COVID vaccine. Police enforcement, however, will only begin on Thursday.

Some venues, including museums and public libraries, were excluded from the Green Pass enforcement plan, allowing unvaccinated students to visit.

Despite a decline in the number of seriously ill COVID patients, Prime Minister Bennett said the government would maintain nearly all pandemic restrictions.

“We’ve started to stop the Delta [Variant], but now is the most dangerous time to relax. Now especially, when the virus has started to retreat, we must not allow it to regroup. We must continue to keep the situation tightly [controlled], not to broadcast to the public that we’re taking off the masks, rather the opposite.”

Israel to begin enforcing Green Pass regulations on Thursday

Josh Toupos

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