JERUSALEM (JTA) — Thousands of Israelis packed the country’s beaches this weekend even though regulations to control the spread of the coronavirus forbid it.
Israel’s beaches are set to reopen on Wednesday with social distancing rules in place. But when temperatures in Israel rose above 100 degrees on Friday and Saturday, Israelis headed to cool off in the water anyway, appearing to pack them much closer than regulations will allow. 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,” the Tel Aviv municipality said in a statement, Haaretz reported. “The government’s announcement that beaches would open in a few days contributed to people going to the beach sooner.”
This week’s beach openings are part of a phased reopening that Israel is undergoing after beating back local coronavirus infections. As part of the reopening, more Israeli students returned to school Sunday.
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