Face mask sales drop sharply in Istanbul

Face mask sales drop sharply in Istanbul

Face mask sales drop sharply in Istanbul

The sales of protective face masks, used against COVID-19, have declined by half in Istanbul compared with the start of the pandemic, according to pharmacists in the country’s most populous city.

“In the first days of the pandemic, we had difficulties finding face masks as the demand was huge. But it has all changed now. We used to sell 50 packages of masks, now barely 15 to 20 packages,” said Kübra Yılmaz, a pharmacist.

Yılmaz linked the decline in sales to the vaccinations against the coronavirus. “People seem to be less cautious; they are not putting face masks in the streets anymore.”

Polat Peker, another pharmacist, agreed that the public appears to have got used to living with the pandemic, confirming that the sales of masks also declined at his store.

People on the street have differing opinions as to whether the face mask requirements should continue.

The face mask rule should remain in place at least for one more year, said Gülhadiye Gür, who suffers from kidney problems.

“There are many people with chronic illnesses, but nobody cares. People only follow the face mask rules on public buses. Particularly young people ignore the rules,” she said.

Aysel Mert, another resident of the city, said she would continue to wear a face mask even if the requirement is lifted. “The pandemic is still here, and I am scared,” she said.

Not everyone agrees.

“It is not very healthy to wear face masks because it poisons us. I always took it off and nothing happened, I did not get the virus,” said Ceylan Yılmaz, a local.

Face masks are not used in coffee houses anymore, but only in the streets, claimed, Mehmet Azak, another anti-mask proponent.

“I followed the rules all along, but I do not think they are necessary anymore even though the pandemic is not yet over,” he added.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said last week authorities would discuss this week what to do about face masks and when people would not be required to wear them.