Contrary to regulations, shopping malls allowed visitors to confirm that they had been vaccinated or had already had the coronavirus.
Shopping malls in Israel are on a nationwide lockdown. The situation, in which retail stores have been closed for more than a month, has angered many market participants. Calls to break the lockdown for the sake of business survival were actively discussed in a specialized online community. Still, only three large malls - in Bat Yam, Petah Tikva, and Karmiel - decided to take drastic action and open up to the public.
Visitors who can present a negative test for COVID-19 within the last 72 hours, as well as those who had been vaccinated or who had already had the disease, were permitted to enter shopping malls. In particular, residents over the age of 60 can enter the malls only if they receive two doses of the vaccine. In contrast, those under 60 can join if they receive their first vaccination. Some of the malls opened, while others offered customers a way to buy take-out items, thus partially complying with the rules.
Local news agencies reported that police officers arrived for inspections at the malls that had opened, but instead of fines, in most cases called for the owners of the outlets to close.
The country's lockdown is now in its fifth week, with many businesses and public establishments closed and almost the entire education system. Although some of the restrictions were lifted a month after they were imposed, most stores and malls remain closed, putting their survival at risk.
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