Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Deputy Prime Minister Bnei Gantz announced today (Friday) that they will postpone the closing date of the restaurants to Tuesday, to allow business owners to prepare for the new guidelines. This morning, the government announced that the restaurants would close today at 17:00 – but the directive was changed after a number of restaurants announced that they would open their doors this weekend despite the restrictions. From Tuesday at 5:00 in the morning, the restaurants will be allowed to operate in the form of deliveries and self-collection only, without seating.
Gantz and Netanyahu’s announcement was received less than an hour from the date set for the closure of the restaurants, and restaurateurs said that the uncertainty made it difficult for them to keep their businesses open. Chef Ilan Grossi, owner of the Satya restaurant in Jerusalem, said he was forced to distribute the food to employees and donations due to the impending closure, “and then in the afternoon we found out we were idiots who obeyed instructions.” He added that tomorrow he will open the restaurant according to the guidelines, saying that “it has been such a long time that we and the whole country feel lack of leadership and unprofessionalism. We are in such a crisis and there is no one who can even be trusted. This is my breaking point with the country, really.”
Omri Dosh, a partner in the underground cafe in Tel Aviv, also found it difficult to keep up with the ever-changing guidelines. “We did not know if we would open, and we ordered some goods so we would have something to get rid of if we closed.”, Said Dosh, who participated in a demonstration of restaurateurs held at the same time in several places in Tel Aviv, in which restaurant workers tapped on pots and pans. “Now we’re rushing to get merchandise in the markets to keep it going. We’re picking up everything there is.”
Upon publication of the decision, the Restaurant Association announced that the move was taken after contacts between them and the Prime Minister’s Office. “We call on all our customers to come tonight and in the coming days, to show solidarity with our industry, and especially to enjoy,” the union said.
Prior to the announcement of the postponement of the closing date, a number of restaurateurs told Haaretz that they intend to open the restaurants this weekend despite the restrictions. They expressed anger that the instructions were received late at night and on immediate notice, after stocking up on raw materials that could be thrown in the bin. “There is no logic in any decision they make, it is a bunch of disconnected people who do not understand what they are doing,” said Elad Dor, owner of Shishko restaurant in Tel Aviv, following the decision to close the restaurants overnight. “The amount of food that is thrown away from all the businesses that will be closed is enormous. When I closed once before, I lost tens of thousands of shekels from food that was thrown in the trash. “It will not happen today.”
Tali Shacharit, a partner in the Cinta Bar group, which owns several restaurants in Haifa, said that the group’s restaurants will be open this weekend due to the short notice. “What happened? The corona will erupt in those two days?”, She wonders, adding that “suddenly The government has come under pressure, acting out of hysteria and losing its mind without judgment, without thinking, when there are people behind these decisions. They should have given us a moment to sell the goods. “
Tomer Moore, chairman of the organization of strong restaurateurs together, said this morning: “Something is brewing, people are in pain and we are not ready to throw away the food, it will not pass in silence. What was decided in the government does not make sense and will kill an entire industry. “His organization said the decision was a” manifestly illegal order “and that” it is our duty to fight for our business, even if we become criminals out of necessity. “
Michal Yuval-Or, the owner of the Tanti Bachi restaurant in Kiryat Tivon, told Haaretz earlier that she would open her restaurant despite the restrictions. “This decision to close businesses for two days is a complete destruction, even restaurants on the verge of bankruptcy … We feel in the war, in the battle, Netanyahu against the State of Israel.”