Will Purim Costumes Be the Next Victims of Coronavirus?

A boy in his Purim costume. (Reuters/Amir Cohen, File)

The Economy Ministry announced Monday that it will impose a fine of NIS 30,000 ($9,000) on anyone found importing or selling dangerous toys. The definition of “dangerous” will be based on standards of safety regulating the sale of toys in Israelis stores. The edict extends to costumes and accessories sold for Purim.

Nava Zaken, chairperson of the Inter-Ministry Committee on Dangerous Toys said that “with Purim on the way, parents need to be very aware of the toys their children play with. Some are very dangerous and can cause significant physical damage that cannot be reversed, harming children who play with toys, their friends, and their surroundings.”

Many of the cheap, dangerous toys that show up in Israeli shops at this time of year are made in China, and in recent years, many Israelis have taken to ordering Purim costumes for their children from merchants in China, which, even with shipping costs, often come out to less money than the retail cost of those costumes in Israeli stores.

But one result of the coronavirus phenomenon has been a significant slowing of packages coming from China, and as a result, Yisrael Hayom reported, parents who are afraid their China-sourced kids’ costumes won’t arrive in time have been descending on Israeli toy stores, snapping up costumes – in a year when many stores ordered fewer costumes, fearing they would end up with unsold merchandise because of Israelis’ online buying spree. This has put a great deal of pressure on stores to meet demand – but since most of their merchandise comes from China as well, storeowners and importers are scrambling to find a reliable source for costumes that they can be sure will arrive in time to meet customer demand.

“This is a year we could really make up for recent losses to online purchases,” one storeowner told the newspaper. “The only problem is I may not have what to sell. The limited supply from China is starting to be apparent in the market, and it may lead to increased costs for many imported items. Purim costumes and toys are just the tip of the iceberg.”

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