Israel imposed a number of new restrictions on shoppers and school children in areas with high infection rates Monday, expanding the Green Pass system which bars the unvaccinated from some venues.
The Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved the new restrictions, which had been adopted by the government’s Coronavirus Committee, for nine days, beginning at midnight between Sunday and Monday.
The new rules restrict some public spaces to the vaccinated or recovered, via the Green Pass system, and end in-person classes for schoolchildren in areas with high COVID infection rates, if less than 70% of the children in a given class are vaccinated.
Indoor shopping centers, such as malls, will now fall under the restrictions of the ‘Purple Pass’ system, limiting the number of people allowed inside to one for every 15 square meters of space.
Large stores, with more than 100 square meters of space, which are not designated as ‘essential’ will be required to operate under the Green Pass system, barring entrance to the unvaccinated and those without proof of recovery or recent negative tests.
The ‘essential’ venues exempted from the Green Pass system include stores selling personal hygiene items, stores which primarily sell glasses and eye contacts, pharmacies or stores which sell medical equipment, supermarkets, minimarkets and grocery stores.
Indoor dining at malls and shopping centers will no longer be permitted, and takeaway purchases will only be permitted for individuals with a Green Pass.
While the restrictions went into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday, police will not begin enforcing the new limits with fines until Tuesday.
Hundreds of officers will be deployed to shopping centers across the country starting Tuesday, including undercover officers, along with some 1,500 city and town inspectors from local municipalities.
Schools in areas listed as red or orange, indicating high or medium-to-high infection rates, will be prohibited from offering in-person classes for grades 7-12 if a given class has less than a 70% vaccination rate.
Grades 1-6 in red and orange towns will be required to impose a ‘limited contact’ system, modifying in-person instruction to minimize contact between large groups of students.