Threats of widespread defiance of the continued shutdown prompted Israeli police on Wednesday to warn of strict enforcement of the health regulations.
The warning came after dozens of businesses in at least three shopping malls—in Bat Yam, Karmiel and Petah Tikva—said they planned to open on Thursday despite the extension of the closure. The stores that plan to open include Steve Madden, Castro, Nine West, Lee Cooper, Aldo and Timberland, Channel 12 said.
Police officials told Channel 12 they are prepared to issue heavy fines and lengthy closure orders for shops that defied the shutdown.
The malls, for their part, declared their own criteria for reopening: allowing in people over 60 only if they’ve received both vaccine doses; people under 60 who have received the first shot; those who have recovered from COVID-19; and those who have tested negative in the previous 72 hours or are under age 16.
The lockdown, now in its fifth week, has had a devastating effect on many businesses.