Dozens of shopping and strip malls opened Sunday across Israel in defiance of Health Ministry restrictions, following through with threats from business owners last week.Many major chains opened Sunday as well, along with numerous street shops and independent businesses. According to the current restrictions enacted Sunday, following the end of the nationwide lockdown that saw most Israelis confined to their homes and the majority of businesses shuttered, businesses that operate with one-on-one services and companies that do not directly interact with the public were allowed to return to work. Maariv, the Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew-language sister publication, reported that stores and major chains partially or fully opened despite restrictions on business dealing with the public. At Big Krayot, a mall close to Haifa, it was reported that some 80{409126f2c1f09c9e510a010c163a4bce2c3ccfc4019bdf864d6cb2d5d8752f38} of stores opened. Big Krayot announced during the previous week that it would allow stores located in the mall to open in defiance of restrictions. The CEO of the mall, Chai Galis, indicated in a letter to store owners that they would be allowed to open, in addition to be required to pay rent and management fees in accordance with contracts.  “The Health Ministry is waving selective data to advance its hysterical agenda for a lockdown without limits,” Galis claimed in the letter. “In practice there is no lockdown on the streets and no enforcement where it should be, as we saw this week. Although it is clear and well-known, and as has been proven in this farce called ‘tightened restraint’, that compliance [with social distancing rules] in stores is low and the rules of the purple certification are not being adhered to,” Galis added in the letter.

The Forum of Heads of the Restaurant Industry also demanded from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow customers to sit in open areas near business areas following the loosening of lockdown restrictions Sunday. “During the closures, the industry lost about 4,000 out of about 14,000 businesses [restaurants], and more than 2,000 more are expected to close during this quarter,” warned Tomer Mor, CEO of the organization “Strong Restaurants Together.”