Fears that Israeli small businesses will collapse due to meteoric COVID quarantine

"Everything must be done to prevent people from falling below the poverty line,” said National Insurance Institute head Meir Spiegler.

People queue in their cars to be tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the country faces a surge in Omicron variant infections in Ashdod, Israel January 3, 2022. Picture taken with a drone.  (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
People queue in their cars to be tested for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as the country faces a surge in Omicron variant infections in Ashdod, Israel January 3, 2022. Picture taken with a drone.
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)

As COVID-19 infections in Israel continue to soar, more and more people are required to self-quarantine, raising fears that the situation could lead to the economic collapse of companies and independent business owners.

“Everything must be done to prevent people from falling below the poverty line,” National Insurance Institute Director-General Meir Spiegler said Sunday. “There is no doubt that the number of people in quarantine is rising meteorically. We need to pay attention to the situation, which is preventing people from being able to make a living.”

The NII has yet to receive new instructions or guidelines from the government, Spiegler said.

“Whatever happens, and as long as the government and the Knesset make decisions to provide a social-security solution for residents who will be harmed, we will be prepared,” he said.

The previous financial-assistance programs offered by the government in the previous waves of the virus improved the situation of the people at the bottom of Israel’s socioeconomic ladder, Spiegler said.

The Centers for Social Justice install a graveyard of businesses that have closed down during the coronavirus pandemic, August 26, 2020.   (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)The Centers for Social Justice install a graveyard of businesses that have closed down during the coronavirus pandemic, August 26, 2020. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)

“They were at the bottom of the pyramid, and the grants and aid improved their ability to cope with the situation,” he said. “As long as this lasts for a long period of time, there may be a situation where people will be hurt to the point of collapse.”