The government on Saturday night announced that it was lifting several of the COVID-19 closure regulations. This signals the gradual end of the third lockdown.The trouble is, despite having had a month in which to prepare an exit plan, once again the government left it to the last minute – and then some.Despite the Saturday night announcement that the closure was starting to be rolled back, the cabinet only met yesterday to discuss the details and exit strategy. This is no way to handle a crisis. Unless ordinary people are informed of what the exact regulations are – and can follow the reasoning behind them – there will be a problem of non-compliance. In some cases it will come down to a lack of faith in the system; in others, it will be for not knowing what the rules are.How are shop owners meant to prepare to reopen their stores if they don’t know whether or not it’s permitted, under what circumstances, and how many customers they are allowed to have inside?Who can understand the logic of reopening hair salons and beauty parlors when that involves close physical contact and yet keeping a toy or clothing store closed?Above all, without the school system returning to a full school day, particularly for the younger grades who cannot be left alone at home, parents will not be able to return to their jobs. Education is a priority and the safe opening of the education system is essential.Policymakers have had a lot of time to prepare for the lifting of the lockdown – they should have been readying for this since the start of the closure, not at the end. Indeed, the need for a clear exit strategy and how to implement it has been obvious since the first closure almost a year ago. In the meantime, the country has been witnessing what can only be called Yisrablof – Isra-bluff, the peculiarly Israeli style of pretense. For instance, restaurants, coffee shops and falafel bars during the closure were allowed to do deliveries but not takeaways, so many establishments simply went through the motions of “delivering” to customers waiting nearby outside.The reason for the rule was not easily understood in the first place, because instead of minimizing contact in order to reduce the possible chain of contagion, the use of a delivery service actually increased the contact, introducing a middleman between the food establishment and the customer. It also increased costs for those small eateries that were already struggling due to the reduced number of customers.As the number of new infections remains high and the death rate has passed the 5,000 mark, it is obvious that strict measures need to be maintained to stop the spread of this deadly disease.We have seen how quickly matters can spiral out of control.Fortunately, this time, exiting from the lockdown is accompanied by the impressive vaccination campaign. While the success rate among the older, more at-risk population has been truly remarkable, there appears to be a slowdown in the numbers of people taking advantage of the vaccinations. It must be kept in mind that the new corona variants are affecting younger people and more seriously than in the first wave, and also that every infected person will pass it on to someone else, possibly to someone less physically able to recover.Sadly, the lack of clear guidelines surrounding the lifting of the closure can be attributed to the infighting and political struggles within the government as the country heads to the polls in March for the fourth time in two years. It is heartbreaking that the government has not learned from the mistakes of the previous closures. Citizens understand the need to balance health concerns with the need to make a living and the psychological need to resume some kind of normal life. What we need is clarity. And we need to be able to trust the country’s leadership. Even with the vaccination program, corona will remain part of our lives for a while. The government needs to provide the country with a clear course of action.