Study Shows Safe to Reopen Malls

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Mamilla Mall in Yerushalayim, closed in the coronavirus pandemic. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90 )

The Israeli government’s decision to allow shopping malls to reopen next week was made only after careful study of the likely impact it would have on the number of coronavirus cases, Ynet reported on Monday.

The Cabinet relied on a study sponsored by the National Economic Council and the Ministry of Economy, which gave assurances that opening the malls would be safe, provided the necessary precautions were taken.

The document forecasts a 1.5-5 percent rise in infections, but that most of those would be in low-risk groups in the population, what officials considered to be an acceptable price.

However, it recommended that shopping malls in areas of high mortality rates should remain closed.

Economy Minister Eli Cohen told the Cabinet that detailed guidelines would have to be distributed to the malls.

Cohen explained that one of the factors making it possible to allow malls to operate is the way they’re laid out.

“With malls it is easier because there are defined entrances and exits,” he said.

“We can do temperature tests, require visitors to wear gloves and masks and use an app to monitor customers to know if a sick or a quarantined person visited the area,” Cohen said, according to Ynet.