Coronavirus Travel Fears Spur Matzah Demand

Baking matzah at a bakery in Yerushalayim of the Belz chassidim. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

In an unforeseen consequence of the coronavirus epidemic, Israeli retailers were said to be bracing for a shortage of matzos when Pesach arrives.

That’s because a large number of Israelis are cancelling their travel plans abroad during Pesach to countries affected by coronavirus, adding significantly and unexpectedly to this year’s demand for matzos.

While the economic impact of the epidemic was early on for the tourism industry and in various markets supplied by China, Pesach wasn’t on the list.

One retailer told Ynet their orders from wholesalers are based on two factors: that no one wants to eat kosher-for-Pesach food after Pesach, and the fact that at any given time during the festival, at least 5%-7% of the population will be out of the country.

The first factor is the reason that all Pesach items are made and distributed in limited quantities. But with thousands more Israelis now planning to be at home, “the food market will have another 3% -4% demand that it will not be able to cope with.”

Besides matzah, disruptions in the supply chain of household products that usually come from China—including chairs, pots, pans, plastic containers and small electronic appliances—will be from Turkey instead. Prices are predicted to be about 20 percent more for such items than in past years.

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