Domain Registration

15 malls to reopen Friday under plan to evaluate social distancing rules

  • November 27, 2020

Some malls were set to reopen Friday as part of a pilot plan approved by the high-level coronavirus cabinet, amid signs that new COVID-19 infections were back on the rise.

A total of 15 malls around the country are permitted to reopen, including nine chosen by lottery overnight and six that earlier received approval.

The Economy Ministry said the lottery winners were Big Fashion in Beit Shemesh, Center 1 in Jerusalem, Arad Mall, M Haderech in Beit Herut, Seven Stars in Herzilya, Sharonim in Hod Hasharon, CineMall in Haifa, Arena Mall in Nahariya and Mall One in Nof Hagalil.

The other six malls belong to two of Israel’s leading mall operators, the Azrieli Group and Ofer. They are in Jerusalem, Haifa, Kiryat Bialik, Ramat Gan, Petah Tikva and Beersheba.

The mall owners pushed to have the shops open by Friday to be able to offer Black Friday sales.

At the end of the 10 day program, officials will draw conclusions about the safety of mall openings and decide when, and how, malls in Israel will reopen. The criteria will be based on compliance with occupancy limits, mask-wearing and preventing gatherings from forming at the entrances to the malls and stores.

Store owners and employees will undergo special training. Essential stores, such as pharmacies and grocery stores, will be allowed to admit more customers than nonessential ones.

Mall owners or operators who violate the guidelines will be hit with a NIS 5,000 ($1,500) fine for each infraction.

At the end of the program, officials will draw conclusions about the safety of mall openings and decide when, and how, malls in Israel will reopen. The criteria will be based on compliance with occupancy limits, mask-wearing and preventing gatherings from forming at the entrances to the malls and stores.

Outdoor market areas and some museums will also be allowed to reopen as part of the pilot plan.

Last week, some malls in Israel opened in a rebellion against lockdown rules amid widespread frustration among store owners against government policies that kept indoor malls shuttered.

Malls have been closed — except for the essential stores within them — since mid-September under lockdown rules. Street-front stores were allowed to reopen earlier this month, with a cap on the number of customers, which was raised from four to 10 on Wednesday.

The initial opening of stores drew crowds of shoppers who in many instances ignored social distancing as they waited in line to enter stores.

Senior health officials have warned repeatedly about the necessity for a possible third national lockdown in Israel to contain the coronavirus, warning against further easing of restrictions until an additional drop in infections.

According to Health Ministry figures released Thursday morning, Israel surpassed 1,000 virus cases a day for the first time in a month.

The milestone is the latest indication that the spread of the virus may be re-accelerating, even as the government pushes ahead with reopening the country from its second lockdown.

On Thursday evening, ministers voted to confirm an earlier decision by the coronavirus cabinet that high schoolers in grades 10-12 in low infection areas designated green and yellow will go back to the classroom on Sunday.

The vote came as the Education Ministry said on Thursday night that there were 1,792 students and 496 teaching staff diagnosed as active virus carriers, amid concerns the widening reopening of the education system could be causing a spike in cases.

However, it was unclear how much the figures reflected the easing of restrictions on in-person learning as they included Israeli children and teens who were learning remotely as well as in classrooms, and also included students in grades 5-6 who only returned to school earlier this week.

Article source: https://www.timesofisrael.com/15-malls-to-reopen-friday-under-plan-to-evaluate-social-distancing-rules/

Related News

Search