Ashkelon's Hutzot Shopping Mall (archives)
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov

Most stores in southern line of fire closed

Very few store owners open their businesses Tuesday following fatal night of missiles in Ashdod, declaration of special situation in home front. 'I have no choice; if I don't open I might as well throw everything to the garbage,' says greengrocer

Ashkelon's Hutzot Shopping Mall seemed empty on Tuesday morning. Almost all the stores were closed, although the mall remained open and security guards stood at its entrance.


One of the only businesses which were open was the New Pharm drugstore, but with not one shopper in sight.


Very few business owners opened their stores across the city. The few who did open were owners of stores selling basic commodities.


Shimon Shakir, who owns a fruit and vegetable store in a commercial center in southern Ashkelon, told Ynet, "People hardly come to the store, but I have no choice. What else can I do? I sell vegetables, and if I don't open I might as well throw the goods to the garbage.


"Naturally, my family is worried, but I have no choice – I must open in any situation. It's part of life."


Sources in the food industry said the most sold products in the line of fire in the past few days were canned corn, disposable dishes and cutlery, bottles of mineral water, waffles and biscuits.


The Sufersal supermarket chain said all its stores in southern Israel were opened as usual.


Not all residents of the Gaza vicinity communities received their mail on Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the Israel Postal Company told Ynet that its postmen had been instructed by the Home Front Command to refrain from delivering mail to unfortified areas in the Gaza vicinity.


According to the spokeswoman, the Home Front Command orders stated that all post offices will be open as usual. Rural delivery will only take place up to 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) from the post office. In the town of Sderot, mail will be delivered as usual.


'The city is dead'

The essential services in the southern towns are working, although some are operating in emergency mode. The Israel Electric Corporation has crews on high alert in central Israel who will be dispatched to the south for reinforcement in times of need, as they did on Monday when a power line was damaged by shrapnel.


"The city is dead," said Ashkelon resident Irina Menitz. "The banks are open the mall is closed, and there's hardly anyone on the street."


The city of Kiryat Malachi is conveying an atmosphere of "business as usual", at least on the outside. The schools are closed, but most businesses remain open.


Ashdod's City Mall is open as usual, as are all of its stores. The Go Active chain announced it would open its gym for free to all residents.


The Beitili furniture stores in Ashdod and Beersheba are open, although not many shoppers have been visiting them. The chain stressed that all stores contain fortified rooms. The Toys 'R' Us chain reported that in spite of the situation, shopping traffic has been recorded in its southern stores.


Roi Mandel contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 12.31.08, 08:35
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