IKEA Defies Corona Regulations, Reopens in Israel

Retail giant has been pressing the government for months to return to business as usual, or risk economic collapse

IKEA Defies Corona Regulations, Reopens in Israel
Yossi Aloni/Flash90

IKEA Israel on Sunday defied government coronavirus regulations and reopened its stores in the Jewish state.

The government in Israel has allowed some shopping centers to reopen with limitations of just a handful of customers at a time entering individual stores. Larger stores like IKEA are still prohibited from opening.

But already for weeks IKEA has been threatening to reopen despite government restrictions, arguing that the ongoing lockdown will ultimately cause the business to falter. Thousands of smaller Israeli businesses with less clout than IKEA have already gone bankrupt, and owners and entrepreneurs who have lost everything have started turning on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

When IKEA announced weeks ago that it would reopen its stores, the government threatened to send police officers to bar entry to its four locations. During Sunday’s reopening, city inspectors showed up at the IKEA outlet in Rishon Letzion and ejected customers.

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