Coronavirus Committee Chairwoman Yifat Shasha-Biton
Coronavirus Committee Chairwoman Yifat Shasha-BitonAdina Waldman, Knesset PR

The Knesset’s Coronavirus Committee voted Tuesday morning to reject new government rules banning on-site dining at restaurants across the country, paving the way the reopening of dining establishments.

In the latest defeat for the government, which has had multiple decisions aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus overturned, the committee restored the previous rules for restaurants, which allows not only takeout orders and delivery, but also on-site dining for up to 20 people indoors and 30 additional diners outdoors.

The committee chairwoman, MK Yifat Shasha-Biton, said during the committee’s deliberation Tuesday that the government can still set rules aimed at minimizing the risk of spreading the coronavirus in restaurants.

“I hope that the government will bring a proposal next week which will normalize the status of dining both indoors and outdoors.”

Coalition chairman MK Miki Zohar (Likud) lambasted the Knesset Coronavirus Committee over its decision, saying “You’re leading this country to a lockdown in a month.”

The committee’s decision comes just hours after the government’s ban on dining at restaurants went into effect at 5:00 a.m., forcing the closure of dining areas at establishments across the country.

While the government is empowered to pass restrictions aimed at curbing the coronavirus without passing laws in the Knesset, the rules must be approved by the Knesset within one week of their passage by the government.