Closure Orders Result in Huge Supermarket Lines

YERUSHALAYIM -
Customers waiting outside a supermarket in Tzfas on Monday. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Traffic was notably heavier Monday night, and supermarkets reported large crowds and long lines after government officials said that a closure and curfew would effectively be in place from Tuesday night through Friday morning. The lines got even longer after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu confirmed the plan in an address Monday evening. Traffic was also notably heavier as individuals made their way to the places where they planned to spend the Seder.

According to an edict approved by government ministers Monday night, Israelis will be restricted to the towns and cities where they live beginning at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Any last-minute shopping will have to be done at local markets. If an individual lives in the vicinity of a well-stocked supermarket, they can shop there, but if they live in a small town or isolated neighborhood with just one grocery store, they will need to do their shopping there.

Beginning Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., Israelis will be restricted to their homes; anyone caught more than 100 meters from their residence will be fined NIS 500. According to the order approved by ministers, the restrictions will be in effect until Motzoei Shabbos at 8:00 p.m., although Netanyahu said in his remarks Monday that they would expire Friday morning, the first day of Chol Hamoed in Israel.

Many customers at supermarkets Monday night told Yediot Acharonot that they were stocking up on last-minute items, but several said that they had decided to take a chance and go to the supermarket – reluctantly, because they feared getting infected – because the on-line orders they had made had yet to arrive, while others received incomplete orders. The large crowds resulted in long waiting times to get into stores. “The closures are designed to discourage social interaction and to keep people at home, but what is happening here is exactly the opposite,” one customer said. “It I had a choice I wouldn’t be here right now.”