People turning houses into cafes in Istanbul amid pandemic restrictions
Some people in Istanbul have been converting their houses into makeshift cafes with a limited number of people at a time as the country has shuttered restaurants and cafes to curb the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.
“There is huge demand, we really do not have any difficulty finding clients,” said one person running her house in the Arnavutköy district as a café for people to gather.
“I put up an ad online. People call and make reservations,” she said.
The house has no menu to give to clients, because the service consists only of tea, appetizers, biscuits and fruits.
Sitting at this house with a friend is more expensive than hanging out at cafes, as the price of having two cups of tea, appetizers, a plate of mixed fruits and some biscuits is around 100 Turkish Liras ($13.5).
The owner said there are risks to running such a makeshift café. “There are rules. People can stay only up to an hour. Some ask if they can stay overnight. But we say ‘no,’” she said.
She said running her house as a café should not bear legal repercussions, because such house gatherings are not banned as part of the COVID-19 restrictions.
She added that she wants to expand the business and add more to the menu.
But the landlord of the house has said he is not happy with the situation. “I rented out the house for her to live in, not for her to convert it into a café. This is not O.K.,” said Hasan Işıldak.