JST&Co Petitions the High Court of Justice over Israel's Policy to Keep Wedding Halls Closed
Meir Ben-Shahar, Joseph Shem-Tov & Co.’s partner and manager of our litigation department filed a petition at Israel’s High Court of Justice on-behalf of ten owners of events halls. The petition is against the government’s decision to postpone the opening of events halls until the middle of June, as part of its combat against the Covid-19 pandemic, while hotels, pubs and hotels were allowed to open on May 27.
The petition which was prepared together with Sagi Aharon of the firm’s litigation team, claims that the government’s policy is discriminatory against the events hall business and is causing them catastrophic damage. Events halls are not scheduled to open up in Israel until at least June 14.
According to Meir Ben-Shahar, the events halls owners are able to immediately meet all necessary restrictions imposed by the government, including with respect to limitations on the number of people allowed to attend events, the methods used for serving food and drinks, distances that must be maintained between people and tables and guidelines concerning hygiene.
“So long as from a medical and professional perspective it is possible to return to business, while keeping the restrictions, there is no reason to prevent the petitioners from doing so,” Meir told the Globes daily business paper. Requiring them to wait an additional three weeks over bars, clubs and restaurants, which are essentially similar businesses in character is unfair and will cause them to lose a large chunk of the wedding season for Haredi (ultra-orthodox) and orthodox Jews.
The petition points out that events halls, like hotels, restaurants and bars, entertain guests that arrive, sit, dance, eat and drink in practically the same manner while enjoying music all under the same ceiling. Additionally, a not inconsiderable number of weddings are conducted in restaurants and various other kinds of gatherings are held in events halls. There is therefore no reason why these businesses should be treated differently by the government, regardless of how they may be categorized in the yellow pages or by local authorities.
Meir also pointed out that in certain respects, it is actually easier to supervise events halls in the battle against corona, with guests normally being known in advance of attendance at events like weddings, which is not the case with guests going to bars, clubs and restaurants. Globes approached the new Health Minister, Mr. Yuli Edelstein for his views on the petition, but received no response.