Israel eases lockdown restrictions, reopens some businesses and schools

Israel will be reopening some businesses and easing lockdown restrictions after 6 weeks of lockdown. This comes after an economic downturn in the country that has led to 27 percent of unemployment.

Coronavirus disrupted every aspect of life in Israel and to curb its spread, the government put in place lockdown measures. Now, after many weeks of lockdown and restrictions in the country, the government is considering reopening the country again.

Easing lockdown restrictions

The lockdowns have already led to more than 27 percent unemployment in the country, failing businesses and citizens being unable to support themselves. Businesses started reopening on Sunday after the government gave a green light for reopening.

Shops and restaurants, according to the new government’s directive, will be reopening. However, open markets and malls will remain closed to discourage the gathering of people in these places. Hotels and restaurants were instructed to only offer take away services to their customers to avoid the spread of the virus.

Government support of small businesses

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government has also released 80 billion shekels ($23 billion) aid package to help businesses and people affected by the spread of coronavirus in the country. Another 6 billion shekels was also promised by the office of the Prime Minister to help workers returning to work readjust.

The reopening of some businesses faced opposition, with many accusing the government of having not done enough for these businesses. Boaz Tragerman, co-owner of Café Mersand, said his businesses had suffered huge losses and even with the reopenings, he does not expect the level of sales to return to what they were before the lockdowns.

Government criticism of handling the situation

Other business owners also criticized the government’s handling of aid meant for small businesses. Tragerman said the government was giving businesses peanuts which were inadequate for these businesses to cover expenses and losses suffered during the lockdowns. Proper funding and easing regulations were the only solutions according to Tragerman. Otherwise, a lot of businesses will end up failing.

The government has also announced plans to reopen schools and will be discussing the best way to approach the matter. Government officials have indicated school calendars might extend to summer to cover for time lost during the lockdowns.

Israel has recorded 15,466 coronavirus cases, with 202 people succumbing to the virus. The measure to consider reopening of the economy has been caused by failing businesses and people looking forward to things going back to normal again.

 

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