Shopping malls, barbershops and hair salons have been allowed to reopen across Turkey after a nearly two-month closure, with stepped-up safety and hygiene measures in place for containing the new coronavirus.
The easing of restrictions came on Monday, the start of a nationwide post-coronavirus normalisation as the death toll and the number of infections eases in the country.
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On Sunday, Turkey’s senior citizens also got their first chance to venture outside in seven weeks. People aged 65 and over – the age group most at risk from the virus – were subjected to a stay-at-home curfew on March 21.
In the last 24 hours, Turkey registered 47 coronavirus-related deaths amid 1,542 new cases, raising the total death toll to 3,786 and 138,657 infections, the country’s health ministry data showed on Sunday.
According to the Council of Shopping Centres, personnel and customers should wear masks and continue to observe physical distancing rules in all malls.
Mall administrators should also use thermometers, decrease lift capacities or limit usage, provide disinfectants and take measures to prevent crowds, the group said in a press release.
Restaurants and cafeterias in malls will remain closed.
The easing of the lockdown means children under 14 will be allowed out on May 13 for several hours, while people aged 15 to 20 will be able to leave their homes on foot on May 15, also wearing masks.
Also on Monday, people in 24 Turkish cities and provinces were allowed to leave their homes again after a wide-ranging 48-hour curfew was lifted.
The 24 cities and provinces, including densely populated Istanbul and Ankara, remain closed for travel by land, air and sea – except for the transport of essential goods. Restrictions for important tourist regions like Antalya were recently lifted.
“It’s very nice to be out of the house after such a long time,” said Ethem Topaloglu, 68, who wore a medical mask as he strolled in a park in Ankara, the capital. “Although I’ve been able to sit on the balcony, it’s not the same as walking around outside.
“My neighbours have been bringing my food and other things in these last weeks,” he said. “It’s important to stay at home and be safe, but it’s very difficult as well.”