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Israelis enjoy warm Friday at beaches, markets after virus restrictions eased

Despite continued closure of beaches, thousands of Israelis flock to Mediterranean coast, Sea of Galilee to bask in the sun

People shop at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv on May 8, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
People shop at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv on May 8, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

With temperatures rising and the number of new COVID-19 infections dropping, Israelis on Friday flocked to outdoor markets and beaches as restrictions meant to ease the coronavirus were increasingly loosened.

Despite beaches formally remaining closed except for water sports, thousands of Israelis still went to beaches along the Mediterranean coast and the Sea of Galilee.

In Tel Aviv, where there were some of the largest crowds, beachgoers weren’t ticketed despite violating the Health Ministry directives, with police and the municipality at odds over who is responsible for enforcing the ban, according to the Ynet news site.

At the Sea of Galilee, however, hundreds of Israelis who came to enjoy the beach were given the boot by police and local officials, the Kinneret Authority said.

Though beaches remain technically closed, malls and outdoor markets were allowed to reopen on Thursday and many Israelis on Friday visited markets to shop for food ahead of Shabbat.

At Jerusalem’s iconic Mahane Yehuda market, entrance was limited to 750 people at a time to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Markets in Tel Aviv also drew a significant number of visitors.

People shop at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv on May 8, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
People near the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv on May 8, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Israelis at the Sea of Galilee on May 8, 2020. (Screen capture: Ynet)
People shop at the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv on May 8, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
People shop for food at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market on May 8, 2020. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)
Israelis at the beach in Tel Aviv on May 8, 2020. (Screen capture: Twitter)
Israelis at the beach in Tel Aviv on May 8, 2020. (Screen capture: Twitter)
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