Gov't agrees on COVID outline for Hanukkah - here’s what you need to know

The Festival of Lights begins this year on Sunday evening, November 28, and lasts eight days. A series of preparatory measures will be taken to enforce the existing Green Pass outline via barcode.

Sufganiyot, traditional treats for Hanukkah, are seen alongside Israelis walking in Jerusalem amid the coronavirus pandemic, on December 13, 2020. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Sufganiyot, traditional treats for Hanukkah, are seen alongside Israelis walking in Jerusalem amid the coronavirus pandemic, on December 13, 2020.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz have agreed on an outline for holding Hanukkah events this year in the shadow of coronavirus.

The Festival of Lights begins this year on Sunday evening November 28 and lasts eight days.

During a meeting held late Sunday night in collaboration with other ministers and professionals, it was agreed that holiday events and performances will be held as planned without imposing new restrictions, despite a slow increase in the number of new daily cases in the country.

However, a series of preparatory measures will be taken to enforce the existing Green Pass outline via barcodes.

Efforts will include increasing the number of ushers in event halls to check passes; convening event producers in advance in order to underscore the need to follow the rules; and working with Israel Police on a strong enforcement plan. At the same time, a national information campaign will be held to remind citizens of the importance of following the existing outline.

People walk by large lit up ''sevivons'', placed in Jerusalem, for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The sevivon (dreidel) is a four-sided spinning top traditionally played with during Hanukkah, December 24, 2019. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)People walk by large lit up ''sevivons'', placed in Jerusalem, for the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The sevivon (dreidel) is a four-sided spinning top traditionally played with during Hanukkah, December 24, 2019. (credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Participants will be required to wear masks during indoor performances, and discussions will be held with event producers to figure out if there are ways to reduce eating and drinking during performances so that masks can stay in place.

The ventilation systems in performance halls will also be checked in order to minimize the possibility of infection among the audience.

Rapid antigen testing sites will be established in close proximity to areas where events are being held. Anyone who is not fully vaccinated or recovered within the last six months will be required to present a negative test result.

Meanwhile, Israel is expected to kick off its children’s vaccination campaign on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister’s Office said that the government hopes to use Hanukkah events to encourage inoculation of children ages five to 11 and will set up mobile vaccination units outside some events in coordination with event producers in order to render these shots more accessible.

Infection had been on the decline for the last few months after Israel rolled out its mass booster shot campaign. However, in recent weeks, the reproduction rate or “R” – how many other people an infected person infects – has been on the incline and health officials are concerned that the country may be on the cusp of a new coronavirus wave. The hope is that vaccinating children will help temper the situation.