Small business owners and self-employed workers on Wednesday threatened "anarchy" if the government decides to reimpose a national lockdown in an effort to stave off the spread of coronavirus.
Already reeling from a lengthy and draconian coronavirus counter-measure earlier in the year - the effects of which are still very much being felt - they have vowed to keep their businesses open unless they are promised financial restitution in advance.
At a Tel Aviv press conference Wednesday, Roee Cohen, president of the Israel Federation of Small Business Organizations, said that “another closure is a death sentence for businesses” and that the government has “long lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the public,” including the business sector.
Cohen maintained that he suspected it unlikely that these businesses - already shellacked once this year - would comply with the government's instructions and close down.
"We are marching toward anarchy. We have children to worry about and mouths to feed,” and at the end of the day, “they are the ones we will have in front of our eyes, and not the fines” imposed by inspectors.
Small business owners and the self-employed - particularly in the fields of tourism and leisure - were among the most affected by the first lockdown.
Figures released on Wednesday by the Federation of Small Business Organizations warned that the cost of a lockdown during the Jewish High Holidays, which start on September 18, would be NIS 13.6 billion ($4 billion).
The threat of lockdown resurfaced after Israel has witnessed a massive spike in cases over the last few weeks. Wednesday witnessed a record of more than 3,500 cases in a 24-hour period.
The government approved on Monday a curfew on 40 of the cities, towns and neighborhoods with the highest virus morbidity in an attempt to slow infection rates, taking effect Tuesday evening.
Reprinted courtesy of i24NEWS