Crowds flock to Tel Aviv beaches as social distancing is ignored

THOUSANDS of Israelis packed beaches this week... even though rules to control the spread of coronavirus forbade it.

The country’s beaches were set to reopen on Wednesday with social distancing rules in place. But with temperatures above 100 degrees, Israelis could not wait that long.

So they cooled off in the water anyway, packing much closer than regulations allowed. No lifeguards were present, and pictures show few people wearing masks.

Police patrolled the beaches in Tel Aviv, but did not hand out any fines, as they had threatened.

Loudspeakers called on swimmers to get out of the water.

“The city doesn’t have the manpower to enforce these regulations due to the large number of citizens who are confused by all the changing rules,” said a Tel Aviv municipality statement.

“The government’s announcement that beaches would open in a few days contributed to people going to the beach sooner.”

The beach openings are part of a phased reopening that Israel is undergoing after beating back coronavirus infections. As part of the process, more Israeli students returned to school on Sunday.

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