Easing of Workplace Restrictions
1 June 2021
Dear Clients and Colleagues,
In light of the decline in Covid-19 infection rates, the Special Authorities to Handle Covid-19 Regulations (Temporary Order) (Restriction of Activities and Additional Instructions), 2020, by virtue of which various restrictions were imposed during the past year, as well as rules referred to as “Purple Seal” and “Green Status”, expired at midnight between May 31 and June 1, 2021.
Simultaneously, the term of application of the Special Authorities to Handle Covid-19 Regulations (Temporary Order) (Restriction of Activities at the Workplace), 2020, which defined the various restrictions that were applied at workplaces over the past year, was shortened, and also expired at midnight.
As a result, as of today, June 1, 2021, with the expiration of the Restriction of Activities Regulations, and the Restriction of Activities at the Workplace Regulations, the various restrictions that applied to workplaces have been lifted, this includes the limitation on gatherings, the requirement to appoint a Covid officer, social distancing of two meters between individuals where possible, the limitations on use of cafeterias and workplace gyms, the limitations on professional conferences, etc.
At this stage, the relevant limitation that will continue to apply to workplaces, is the requirement to wear facemasks, which stems from the National Health Order (the Novel Coronavirus) (Home Quarantine and Additional Instructions) (Temporary Order), 2020. As a reminder, according to the Order, individuals are obligated to wear facemasks indoors (unless the individual is in a separate room; in part of a building that has a two meter high partition; in an open space booth with a 1.2 meter high partition – while seated; or where two individuals permanently share the same room, as long as they maintain a two meter distance). According to the Order, employers bear the responsibility to ensure that the employees fulfil the obligation to wear facemasks.
The removal of the restrictions in relation to workplace activity affects the question of whether it is possible to limit workplace attendance to vaccinated individuals. The Labour Court rulings in this context rested, mainly, on the restrictions that applied by virtue of the Regulations, on employer obligations that stemmed therefrom, and on the national infection rates. Due to the expiration of the Regulations, the balancing point in this context will shift. Employers who wish to continue to examine the possibility of limiting workplace attendance to vaccinated individuals, are encouraged to seek specific advice to examine whether there is a justification, under the circumstances, to continue to apply such limitation.
We will continue to provide you with updates of any developments.
The Labour and Employment Department
Herzog Fox & Neeman