Malls mutiny: Stores open against Health Ministry coronavirus regulations

"There is no rebellion here," said one of the merchants. "There is a loss of livelihood and desperation."

Carmel market merchants protest continued coronavirus closures. (AVSHALOM SASSONI/ MAARIV)
Malls opened across Israel on Friday in direct violation of Health Ministry coronavirus directives, Israeli media reported. Protesters gathered in Tel Aviv's Carmel Market, protesting regulations that have prevented them from opening their stalls in the market.
Dozens of merchants from the Carmel market gathered in Tel Aviv and attempted to block the road outside of the market, protesting continued closure of the market. Protesters held signs that read "help" and "let us earn a living in dignity."
"There is no rebellion here," said one of the merchants to Ynet News. "There is a loss of livelihood and desperation."
Around half-a-dozen malls opened at the decision of the Malls Forum, that announced that it intends to open all malls on Tuesday, N12 reported. Among the malls that opened are the Azrieli Group's malls in Haifa, Modi’in and Ramat Gan and Ofer Group's malls in Petah Tikva, Beersheba and Haifa.
Many stores within open malls decided not to open, and the stores that did open mostly belonged to independent owners as opposed to being part of bigger chains, according to N12. Large chains that did open stores included Fox, Golf and Steimatzky.
The opening follows several malls threats on Thursday to open against the new regulations, which only allowed strip malls and street shops to open. Malls have been closed since the start of the High Holy Day lockdown.
“This is not the time to open malls en masse,” Health Ministry director-general Chezy Levy warned Thursday.
Levy said the Health Ministry agreed to a pilot program that will include several malls in various cities to see if there is an ability to control the number of shoppers entering the stores and to epidemiologically track them where there is an outbreak.
Maayan Hoffman contributed to this report.