TEL AVIV – Israel’s soccer league is expected to resume matches, without spectators, in coming weeks after a two-and-a-half month layoff, according to a new agreement signed Wednesday between the Health Ministry and league officials.
For the duration of the season, players will not be allowed to leave their homes with the exception of training and matches. If any player or member of staff is diagnosed with coronavirus, the entire team will be made to enter a two-week quarantine.
Players will need to have their temperatures and oxygen levels checked before every training session and match.
Culture and Sports Minister Miri Regev said the decision was “big news for sports and soccer lovers.”
However, the Finance Ministry has so far rejected requests by soccer owners for compensation to the tune of up to NIS 150 million ($42.7 million).
Moshe Hogeg, owner of the Beitar Jerusalem club, said without that financial bailout “there won’t be soccer here next year. If there are no fans, compensation will be vital or else teams won’t be able to survive financially.”
Meanwhile, the city of Tel Aviv is considering allowing restaurants and cafes to reopen as early as next weekend, provided they adhere to certain restrictions including single-use menus, hand sanitizers on every table and thorough disinfection procedures.
Restaurant tables would also need to be spaced apart as to allow for social distancing between diners and all servers and kitchen staff would be required to wear masks and gloves. The municipality plan, which would need to receive government approval first, was formulated in conjunction with the restaurant owners association and would allow restaurants and cafes to return to 70% capacity.
Eatery owners can already apply for a permit to set up outdoor seating areas outside on the sidewalks and even in nearby parks and squares.
Workers are required to wear a uniform or else cover their street clothes with a protective robe. They must also have their temperature taken before shifts.
Mayor Ron Huldai told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a letter that the city’s restaurants are “important partners.”
“We’re doing everything in our power to help, by means of exemptions from fees and other tools, but these aren’t enough. Rescuing the [restaurant] industry of hundreds of thousands of workers is in the hands of the government,” The Times of Israel, citing Channel 13 news, quoted the letter as saying.