Israel rolls out green pass for vaccinated concertgoers
The first concert held as part of the latest reopening of the Israeli economy took place over the weekend, with entry restricted to those who have had two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
Singer Ivri Lider, one half of electro-pop due the Young Professionals (TYP) and a judge on The X-Factor Israel, performed to an audience of 500 fans at Tel Aviv’s Bloomfield Stadium for a show organised by authorities in Israel’s second-largest city. Up to 1,000 people are now allowed at indoor events in Israel, and 1,500 for open-air shows, provided they have a ‘green pass’ – documentation showing they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
In a video posted to the city of Tel Aviv Twitter page, Lider is shown performing to a non-socially distanced – albeit seated and mask-wearing – audience seated in a single stand of the 29,400-capacity Bloomfield Stadium, which is home to Israeli Premier League football team Hapoel Tel Aviv. The stadium has previous hosted a number of major concerts, including shows by Rihanna, Celina Dion, Soundgarden, Phil Collins, Pixies, Barbra Streisand and the Black Eyed Peas.
The 1,000/1,500-person limit currently only applies to venues with over 10,000 seats, although up to 500 people are allowed in indoor venues smaller than that, and up to 750 people in any open space.
The green pass programme, designed to ensure Israel’s third lockdown was its last, is similarly allowing many hospitality, leisure and retail businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, cafés, gyms and shops, to reopen without social distancing, although some have objected on a civil rights basis to what they see as enforcing vaccinations. Over 40% of Israelis have already had both doses of the vaccine.
“After a year of Covid we can finally restart our cultural and entertainment activities”
The Friday 5 March Ivri Lider show was the first of four concerts being organised in Bloomfield Stadium by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, which governs the Mediterranean city. In order to enter the stadium, concertgoers had to produce their green pass – a certificate, either physical or virtual, issued by the Ministry of Health – confirming they had received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19.
It was followed by a show on Sunday 7 March by ’80s pop star Yardena Arazi, who similarly played to an audience of 500 green pass holders.
Speaking to the Media Line news agency, Tel Aviv city spokesman Eytan Schwartz said both shows sold out within a quarter of an hour. “People are very eager to come and have a good time,” he says.
One Ivri Lider fan, Reut Gofer, told Agence France-Presse: “This is really cool. I am so happy. I hope this is the beginning of a period when we will return to our normal life.”
“As the majority of our population is already vaccinated, after a year of Covid we can finally restart our cultural and entertainment activities,” Schwartz added.
“We are organising these concerts because we want […] to have access to culture again, we want to regain our previous life. I hope that very soon we will be able to fill this stadium with 30,000 people, as it should be.”
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.