On Sunday, Israel became the first “post-pandemic” country marked by the official lifting of the nationwide outdoor mask mandate.
With almost 5 million residents completely vaccinated, cafes, bars, and beaches have fully opened and life has seemingly gone back to normal. Does Israel’s success give us a glimpse at how other countries may open up and ease pandemic related restrictions?
Of course, those who get to experience this return to normalcy are the holders of what Israel calls “green passports,” documents that can be printed or downloaded onto your phone. They are required when entering most indoor spaces or before attending events.
Though in Tel Aviv, many bars and restaurants have already received reputations for not checking for green passports, the vaccination program seems to have done its job in that there are only about 2,000 active Covid cases in the country (this is in stark contrast to the 6,000 active cases that were reported at the beginning of the month).
What does life look like post-pandemic?
Post-pandemic life resembles that of the pre-Corona era in that the streets are once again flooded with people and finding an empty spot on the beach has become impossible. Indoor dining is open at 75% capacity (or up to 100 people). Also parties, concerts, and other events have popped up all over the country. Already in March, an Omer Adam (one of Israel’s leading Mizrahi pop artists) concert was attended by 1,500 people.
Additionally, employees have started to return to their office spaces and university students are finally coming back to campus for the first time in over a year.
The most notable change, however, is the travel flexibility that the green passport program has created giving fully vaccinated residents the ability to travel abroad and return to Israel without having to enter quarantine at all.
Does “Post-pandemic” really exist though?
Another vaccine campaign is expected to commence in approximately six months according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who just Tuesday night told Israelis to “get their shoulders and children ready” for the next round of shots.
However, for now it appears that people are taking full advantage of their temporary immunity to the virus and enjoying every last bit of post-pandemic life.
Originally Published Apr 21 2021 07:57PM EDT