JERUSALEM – Israel reopened swathes of its economy on Sunday, with the government saying the start of a return to routine was enabled by a COVID-19 vaccination drive that has reached almost half the population.
Shops were open to all. But access to leisure sites like gyms, hotels and theatres was limited to people who have had both doses of the vaccine more than a week prior, or recovered from the disease with presumed immunity. Those people get “Green Pass” status displayed on a Health Ministry app.
Mask-wearing and social-distancing were still in force. Dancing was barred at banquet halls. Synagogues, mosques or churches were required to halve their normal congregation sizes.
Coming exactly a year after Israel’s first documented coronavirus case, Sunday’s easing of curbs was part of a government plan to open the economy more widely next month, when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is up for reelection.
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