Turkey moving to ‘new normal’ under life-changing rules
Turkey is preparing to ease the strict measures gradually it had introduced to spread of the coronavirus that has already resulted in the deaths of 3,500 people. But the daily lives of millions is not likely to be the same as many of the curbs, even though partially relaxed, will remain in place.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced earlier this week that the measures will start to be eased as of May 11 but added that “nothing will be like the normal we knew.”
As part of this process, shopping malls, barber shops, and some stores will open, travel restrictions will be lifted for seven cities, excluding Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, senior and youth citizens will be allowed outside for four hours for one day a week starting this weekend.
Consumers will be required to wear face masks when they visit shopping malls, and their temperatures will be checked at the entrance. Stores inside the malls will have larger empty space to ensure social distancing. Only a certain number of shoppers will be allowed inside the stores one at a time. Fitting rooms will be regularly sanitized.
Clothes, which consumers try on, will be disinfected with UV light. At the cashiers, shoppers will stand two meters apart from each other. Escalators will be disinfected regularly, while elevators won’t operate.
More than 107,000 barber shops across the country will need to take extra precautions as Turkey moves toward the new normal.
They will receive customers with appointment only to prevent people to wait their turn inside the shops. Personnel and customers will be required to wear overshoes. Disposable towels will be used and one seat between two customers will remain empty. Each seat will be disinfected and after a customer leaves, it will be left empty for 15 minutes.
Barber shops will operate nine hours a day. Barber shops for men will receive two customers in an hour while hairdressers will server only one costumer an hour.
Bendevi Palandöken, the head of the Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK), has noted that wedding season is just around the corner and the curbs on weddings could be relaxed for the ceremonies to be organized in the countryside.
Erdoğan warned that “we do not know how long the epidemic will last, or when the cure for it or medications for it will be found.”
Meanwhile, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on May 5 voiced concern over peoples’ complacent behavior.
On social media, he shared a photo of a crowd in Istanbul’s popular İstiklal Avenue, which had been relatively empty until recently, and commented that “this is not a very good picture.”
“It is too early for so many people to appear in a single photo frame. Let’s try to stay at home. If we go out, let’s wear face masks and adhere to social distancing rules,” Koca wrote on Twitter.