Report: Supermarkets Way Behind on Online Orders

Customers stock up on food at a Rami Levy supermarket in Yerushalayim, March 12. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

With Pesach just over a week away, Israelis who are reluctant to go to the supermarket because of concern over coronavirus infection have been inundating supermarkets with online orders – but because of logistics issues and a lack of personnel, supermarkets are unable to fulfill orders. As a result, stores are preparing for a last-minute inundation of customers seeking Pesach basics – that is, if they are still allowed to operate under expected new and harsher rules that will further limit the movement of Israelis.

Many of the country’s largest chains, including Rami Levi and Yeinot Bittan – both of which are popular with the religious community – are not accepting orders at this time, because of a backlog in previous orders that have not yet been fulfilled, Calaclist reported. Supersol, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, is taking orders for delivery only after Pesach.

In addition, the chain is limiting the range and number of products that can be ordered online in order to reduce the workload of order assemblers, in the hope that it can speed up deliveries, or at least not fall further behind, Calcalist said. Sources in the chain told the newspaper that regulators needed to take into consideration the situation regarding online orders before placing new restrictions on supermarket shopping.

Those restrictions are expected to be announced Sunday or Monday. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is said to be in favor of a total lockdown, with Israelis allowed only very limited access to public spaces. Shopping would be done by permit only, and only at local markets. But many of those markets do not have all the products families need – and if they cannot order the products online, company officials fear that large numbers of people will defy curfews and attempt to enter supermarkets, resulting in possible social unrest, as well as new outbreaks of coronavirus infections, chain officials said.