IKEA fined the cost of a couch for reopening against health regulations

"If everyone does justice themselves then we will reach anarchy," said a Health Ministry representative.

Customers wait outside an IKEA shop after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown has been eased around the country and the company opens some of its stores, in Netanya, Israel April 23, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Customers wait outside an IKEA shop after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown has been eased around the country and the company opens some of its stores, in Netanya, Israel April 23, 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
The Rishon Lezion Municipality fined IKEA Israel on Sunday after the store decided open on Sunday contrary to Health Ministry regulations. The store has been closed for several months by demand of the Health Ministry, and its decision that the furniture store and others like it are not considered essential. 
The store was fined NIS 5,000, Israeli media reported. Inspectors entered the premises and informed customers that they were breaking the law and that there would be enforcement against anyone who decided to stay. 
The amount is the average cost of couch on the furniture store's website, with the cost of the couch ranging anywhere from NIS 1,000 to the just above NIS 16,000, with the majority averaging between NIS 3,000 and NIS 8,000.
The reopening is contrary to Health Ministry regulations, but the store has decided to reopen regardless, and has stated that it will maintain regular Health Ministry guidelines for regular businesses approved to open.
"IKEA stores were opened in a limited format and in accordance with Israeli government regulations," IKEA said in a statement. "We will always be careful to maintain the health of our employees and customers according to all guidelines."
The chain furniture store will open in a limited format, operating only the first floor and selling only items labelled as essential, according to Ynet. Essential items include packaged foods, yet the buffet and showroom will remain closed. 
The reopening comes after IKEA tried to reopen in early November but was forced to remain closed by the Health Ministry. IKEA tried at the time to only delay their reopening by 24 hours in order to try to convince the Health Ministry that they would only sell essential items. However, the attempt failed and they did not reopen a day later.
The Health Ministry said in November that their position is that a furniture store, "including IKEA, is not a place whose main business is selling essential products for home maintenance," Channel 12 reported. 
The store has been shut down for nearly three months since the second lockdown. 

"If everyone does justice themselves then we will reach anarchy," a Health Ministry representative said in response to the opening. "This is not the first time that big chain stores are threatening, we are on the verge of a third wave [of high coronavirus morbidity]."
The representative called on police to "take command. If this does not happen then I will not be surprised if event hall owners will also take justice into their own hands."


Tags economy ikea