Israel reopens shops as lockdown is eased

Jerusalem, Apr 26 (EFE).- Street stores in Israel reopened on Sunday as the Hebrew country eased the lockdown restrictions imposed to counter the coronavirus that has so far killed 200 people.

During the first working day of the week in the country, most shops reopened and people went shopping as the country regained a feeling of normality.

Shopkeepers sported protective face masks and customers queued outside the stores in a bid to respect the rules imposed by the Health Ministry to prevent the spread of the virus and maintain social distancing.

Attempts to stick to the new norms were not always successful as some people could be seen not wearing masks properly, while others slipped them off to talk to each other.

The Police, who were not very militant about enforcing the two-meter social distancing rule, distributed masks and asked those who did not wear the protective gear to do so if they wanted to avoid the 200- shekel ($57) fine.

The decision the government took to reopen practically all businesses, including barbershops and beauty salons, and to allow restaurants to provide takeaways has sparked controversy.

Several analysts and even Health Ministry senior officials questioned the rush and denounced a lack of clear planning to relaunch the economy.

Critics have urged for the social distancing rules to be strictly implemented.

Others, including sellers at the market of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Mahane Yehuda, criticized that megastores such as Ikea were allowed to reopen a week ago.

In the meantime, over 200 chain stores announced they would not reopen until they are granted government subsidies.

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