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Israelis enjoy warm Friday at beaches, markets after virus restrictions eased

With temperatures rising and the number of new COVID-19 infections dropping, Israelis on Friday flocked to outdoor markets and beaches as restrictions meant to ease the coronavirus were increasingly loosened.

Despite beaches remaining closed except for water sports, thousands of Israelis still went to beaches along the Mediterranean coast and the Sea of Galilee.

In Tel Aviv, where there were some of the largest crowds, beachgoers weren’t ticketed despite violating the Health Ministry directives, with police and the municipality at odds over who is responsible for enforcing the ban, according to the Ynet news site.

At the Sea of Galilee, however, hundreds of Israelis who came to enjoy the beach were given the boot by police and local officials, the Kinneret Authority said.

Though beaches remain technically closed, malls and outdoor markets were allowed to reopen on Thursday and many Israelis on Friday visited markets to shop for food ahead of Shabbat.

At Jerusalem’s iconic Mahane Yehuda market, entrance was limited to 750 people at a time to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Markets in Tel Aviv also drew a significant number of visitors.