Israeli supermarkets are staying open, Health Ministry confirms

"Citizens of Israel, the supermarkets are staying open, period."

A supermarket in the "purple industrial zone" of Petah Tikvah.  (photo credit: ITZIK SASSON)
A supermarket in the "purple industrial zone" of Petah Tikvah.
(photo credit: ITZIK SASSON)
Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other government officials guaranteeing there will be no shortage of products during the coronavirus crisis, Israeli surged to supermarkets on Saturday to stock up on supplies.
Health Ministry director-general Moshe Bar Siman Tov clarified on Saturday afternoon that supermarkets in Israel will not be shutting down.
“Citizens of Israel, the supermarkets are staying open, period,” he said. “There’s no need to surge into them. The system is preparing but in every possible outcome, the supermarkets are staying open.
“I ask the public to act responsibly and to listen to the instructions of the certified authorities,” he concluded.
Netanyahu, at a press conference on Saturday night, explained there is no reason for people to run to the supermarkets.
“For Passover, as well,” he said. “We have enough food. The supermarkets will continue to work and there will [continue to] be food.”
The Health Ministry clarified there will not be food shortages, even when new restrictions are imposed. However, local media outlets claim that despite the government’s reassurances, citizens do not trust the government and are continuing to stockpile food.
Photographs circulating on social media showed lines of hundreds of people waiting outside grocery stores throughout the country.

Israelis have been panic-purchasing food and toilet paper amid worries that the country will enter a full lockdown due to the pandemic.
Shufersal, a leading supermarket in the country, has announced that due to the increasing number of requests for grocery deliveries on their online platform, they are preparing to significantly expand their shifts, including night shifts, to answer to the mounting requests of customers.
The company is looking for 400 new employees to join in preparing deliveries. They also opened extra stores after Shabbat to handle the increased workload.
Other stores, including Victory and Be Pharm, opened stores after Shabbat at the last minute in light of the high demand. Supermarket chain Rami Levy will not be doing so, but the company announced that it is considering opening stores 24 hours a day.
In addition, it was announced Saturday afternoon that food factories will continue to operate normally. The importing of food into Israel will continue as usual.
The Health Ministry release clarified that since this means Israel will have as much available food as usual, Israelis should not hoard food.
Beginning Sunday, the police will be enforcing closures in public places in order to prevent more than 100 people congregating at any location at the same time.