Health Minister unveils reopening of tourism sector in Eilat

'Finally, tourism has resumed in Israel.' Minister Yuli Edelstein marks reopening of Eilat's tourism sector, as pandemic continues.

Hezki Baruch ,

Yuli Edelstein in Eilat
Yuli Edelstein in Eilat
צילום: מישל אמזלג, לע"מ

Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) toured Eilat Tuesday morning, marking the reopening of the city’s tourism industry, as part of the government’s new “tourism islands” program, which allows hospitals and restaurants to operate in pre-approved areas.

Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak HaLevy joined Minister Edelstein during the tour, as did Deputy Health Minister Itamar Grotto and public health chief Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis.

“I am happy to be here with senior Health Ministry officials,” said Edelstein. “This is a great development for the residents of Eilat, and also for every citizen of Israel. Finally, they can take a vacation inside of Israel.”

“This event was made possible by massive logistical work. I want to thank everyone who took part in the speedy preparations. I ask that the public not come here without first testing negative for the coronavirus. Not just people coming to stay at hotels, but also everyone travelling to the city who doesn’t have an exemption needs to have a valid coronavirus exam.”

Last week, the Knesset approved the 'Tourism Islands' law, empowering the government to declare Eilat and the Dead Sea area as “tourism islands”.

Residents of the area, its workers and other exceptions entering the city will be charged with being tested for the coronavirus only once a week instead of every 72 hours as stipulated in the bill's previous wording, and will also be able to have free immediate tests at the entrance checkpoint.

At the request of the committee, the government with consider various facilitations for those who carry a "recovery certificate" in setting restrictions on public space or a restricted area, but the committee determined that this would be done provided it was presented with the position of the Health Minister beforehand.