State bars creditors from garnishing federal stimulus payments

A firefighter sprays a turnstile with disinfectant at the Moshe Dayan Railway Station in Israel.
A firefighter sprays a turnstile with disinfectant at the Moshe Dayan Railway Station in Israel. Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to begin gradually easing the restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19 beginning Sunday, with the goal of increasing the number of employees allowed in any workplace from 15% to 30%.

The updated guidelines still need government approval, which is expected late Saturday night. The reduced restrictions will be evaluated for two weeks before any further decisions are made, Netanyahu said.

Industrial and high-tech workplaces, as well as certain stores, will be allowed to reopen under health and social distancing restrictions. Employers must check the temperature of their workers upon arrival and limit the number of people in a room; maintaining at least 2 meters (6 feet) between each person.  

Employers must document who enters offices and stores must document customers who enter. Employees must sign a health declaration before entering their workplace.

The new rules notwithstanding, Netanyahu still encouraged employees to continue to work from home as much as possible.

Stores that will be allowed to reopen include those selling furniture, household appliances, electronics, and communication devices.

If an employee tests positive for coronavirus, the workplace will be required to close until it receives permission from the Health Ministry to reopen.

Those over 67 years old, or with an existing health condition, should not return to work, said Health Ministry Director-General Moshe Bar Siman Tov.

Israelis must remain within 100 meters (about 330 feet) of their residences, though they may travel up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) for exercise. Citizens are still required to wear face masks in public spaces and maintain a 2-meter (6-foot) distance from others.

Schools and universities will remain closed, except for special needs education, which can be conducted in small groups, Netanyahu said. Beaches and parks remain closed, as do malls and restaurants.

Outdoor prayer is permitted in groups of up to 10 people, provided worshipers remain 2 meters (6 feet) apart. 

Israel has had a total of 13,265 confirmed cases of coronavirus cases and 164 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health, a mortality rate of 1.2%.

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