Third coronavirus lockdown to cost Israel NIS 3 billion per week

"A third closure, whether partial or complete, means the death penalty for tens of thousands of businesses in Israel."

Shops in Jerusalem sit closed during the national coronavirus lockdown, Oct. 2020 (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Shops in Jerusalem sit closed during the national coronavirus lockdown, Oct. 2020
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Israel's third coronavirus lockdown will cost the country NIS three billion every week, according to the Finance Ministry's Chief Economist Shira Greenberg, Israeli media reported, while the Bank of Israel placed the estimation at NIS 2.5 billion per week.
The Bank of Israel estimation does not weigh the costs caused by business going bankrupt and continuing unemployment.
The retail industry is expected to lose NIS 1.4 billion per week, while the tourism and leisure industries are expected to lose about NIS 500 million per week, according to the economist's estimate.
"According to the research division, in October, the second lockdown led to activity 12% lower than normal. The estimated output loss for each week in which activity is 12% lower than usual is about NIS 3.2 billion per week," said the Bank of Israel to Globes.
In comparison, activity dropped by 22% in the first lockdown, with an estimated loss of NIS 5.9 billion per week.
The lockdown will begin on Sunday at 5 p.m. and last for at least two weeks, with the option to extend for another two weeks if the number of new daily cases is still over a thousand. Retail, entertainment and leisure businesses will be closed, except for deliveries. Businesses that do not receive the public will be able to operate at 50%.
The lockdown will result in an estimated daily revenue loss of about NIS 500 million on average, with the estimated loss of about two weeks reaching about NIS 5-6 billion, according to the Economics and Taxes Division of the Federation of the Israeli Chambers of Commerce, Globes reported.
"The decision to close is an unfortunate decision that stems from the coronavirus cabinet's misguided thinking," federation president Uriel Lynn told Globes. "The coronavirus cabinet must go back and think about changing the perception of work and changing values - not a sweeping lockdown once again, but two weeks of proper work as it should work."
"We must focus on how to open and not what to close - decisively attacking the spots producing the coronavirus, focusing more on cutting the chain of infection and designing patterns of behavior that will allow us to return to a normal life," added Lynn. "A third closure, whether partial or complete, means the death penalty for tens of thousands of businesses in Israel."
The federation and the freelancer unions told Ynet that the estimation by the chief economist was unrealistic and that the actual damages would be "much larger."
The Macro Center for Political Economics found that a third lockdown is expected to cost the economy NIS 26.8 billion if it lasts for two to three weeks, according to Ynet. 
Dr. Roby Nathanson, CEO of the center, told Ynet that even after the lockdown, there are continuing damages as the exit from a lockdown occurs in stages, so the immediate losses will likely be about NIS 16.2 billion while the losses during the exit from the lockdown will likely reach NIS 10.6 billion.
Meanwhile, the Manufacturers Association estimates that the lockdown will cost NIS 7.7 billion per week, according to Ynet, reaching about NIS 30 billion in losses in a month.
"We need to launch a 'give a shoulder' operation to businesses that are going bankrupt because of the government's intention to impose a third lockdown on trade," said Roi Cohen, president of LAHAV, the Israel Chamber of Independent Organizations and Businesses, according to Ynet.
"Entire industries are still closed, the street side shops have just returned to work and have not received compensation for the stock they have left from the previous lockdowns, and for their rents and loans – but this is not interesting to any of the decision makers."