Israel's New Coronavirus Restrictions Spur Shopping Spree

Public spent heavily after they learned about the new measures

Adi Dovrat-Meseritz
Adi Dovrat-Meseritz
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People walk in Jerusalem on July 19, 2020.
People walk in Jerusalem on July 19, 2020.Credit: Emil Salman
Adi Dovrat-Meseritz
Adi Dovrat-Meseritz

The moment Israelis learned on Friday that the government will be imposing a coronavirus lockdown on weekends, they immediately went shopping.

Figures for credit card purchases between 9:00 A.M. and 1:00 P.M. that day show they spent 495 million shekels ($144 million) in stores but also online, according to the credit card payment clearing company Shva. That was 15% more than Fridays over the last few weeks since the last lockdown was lifted, the company said.

The peak hour came between 11:00 A.M. and 12:00 A.M. when they made more than 140 million shekels in purchases. Shva also reported that in the first half of July, shopping by credit card at the big supermarket chains was up 7% from June. Even so, it was still down on the surge of shopping that occurred in April and May. The increase came as fewer Israelis patronized restaurants and cafes: According to Shva, credit card spending on eating out was down 7% in the first half of July, compared with June.

With world travel all but barred to Israelis, Shva reported that local hotels saw a 21% increase in credit card spending on rooms and amenities. But spending at apparel stores was down 18% and down 12% at electronics and housewares retailers.