Istanbul bans smoking on scores of streets, avenues, squares

Istanbul bans smoking on scores of streets, avenues, squares

Istanbul bans smoking on scores of streets, avenues, squares

Istanbul, the country’s largest city by population, has banned smoking on 125 streets, 93 avenues, 84 squares and all public transport spots as part of measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Istanbul, which Health Minister Fahrettin Koca recently said accounted for 40 percent of all coronavirus cases in Turkey, is not the only city in the country that introduced such a restriction.

The interior minister earlier this week sent a circular to all 81 provinces, saying that a smoking ban would be introduced in “areas like avenues, streets and stops where citizens are crowded.”

A number of provinces, including the capital Ankara, already embarked on the ban as the number of COVID-19 patients started to pick up in the past weeks.

Police teams conducted inspections on Istanbul’s popular İstiklal Avenue with help from drones hovering above to enforce the smoking ban.

They warned the people taking a stroll along the busy avenue in Turkish and English public announcement about the face mask rule and the smoking ban.

The police officers handed out masks to those who did not have one and fined people 900 Turkish Liras (around $117) who failed to observe the smoking ban.

Residents across the city partially adhered to the smoking ban, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

In the main square of the Esenyurt district, some heeded the ban while others continued to smoke on the benches and while walking on the streets.

The scene was not very different in the Bakırköy, Zeytinburnu and Güngören districts of the mega city, according to Anadolu Agency with people partially complying with the smoking ban.