Will Israel's culture scene reopen as early as next week?

Culture and Sports Minister Guy Gutman spoke on Sunday with Anat Davidov on her 103 FM program "Where is the Money?" about the plan of action for the return of Israel's culture scene.

Street performers take part in a protest calling for financial support from the Israeli government at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, following the lockdown Israel has been in order to prvevent the spread of the Coronavirus, on May 20, 2020. (photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
Street performers take part in a protest calling for financial support from the Israeli government at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, following the lockdown Israel has been in order to prvevent the spread of the Coronavirus, on May 20, 2020.
(photo credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)
Culture and Sports Minister Guy Gutman spoke on Sunday with Anat Davidov on her 103 FM program "Where is the Money?" about the plan of action for the return of Israel's culture scene. The plan was announced on Saturday night by his ministry in cooperation with the Health Ministry. Below are the plan's highlights.

Davidov: What's going on with the world of culture?
Gutman: "First of all, after quite some time, there is finally news regarding Israel's damaged world of culture, and it will start next week. In the discussions that are currently taking place within the coronavirus cabinet, it's very likely that the plans will move forward earlier than expected, but we still do not know for certain."

Davidov: There's a chance the reopening may happen earlier than expected?
Gutman: "Definitely. In any case, at the moment we are talking about next Tuesday. For us, it is less significant if they are a day or two ahead of the plan. The world of culture, as you probably know, cannot open from moment to moment and must prepare for a reopening properly. It's opening on February 23rd, and from that day it is certainly possible to hold performances.
"Some of the people in the culture world already called and all invited us to shows. For example, a performance will be held at the Jerusalem Khan Theater on the same day. It is important to mention that we have previously denied theaters the ability to rehearse. On Tuesday, if a producer wants to hold a show, he can reopen to box office and hold the show. The same goes for stand-up comedians who want to start performing. "
Davidov: How will this play out in terms of audience? 
Gutman: "We're talking about seventy-five percent occupancy of a hall, meaning up to 300 people indoors and 500 people in an open auditorium. All ticket buyers will be able to sit together, and there will be a vacant seat in between them."
Davidov: Let's talk about sports - the fields are bigger. Are you going to open that too?
Gutman: "Correct. We'll probably open them in the next round, but with bigger numbers. It should be gradual, and we believe that in March, we'll be able to have an audience back in the stands. There are many entrances, therefore the fans can be divided to avoid unnecessary crowding."
As stated, according to the outline formulated in recent weeks under the leadership of Culture Minister Chili Tropper in cooperation with the Health Ministry, it was decided that cultural performances, museums and public libraries will resume next week on February 23.
Details of the exact layout, including the conditions of entry to museums and libraries, will be published in the coming days. The outline will be put into effect according to coronavirus morbidity rates and government approval.
This is the first version of the outline, and the number of people in audiences are expected to grow overtime as the culture world gradually bounces back.

Translated by Abigail Adler.