Shopping malls, barbershops and beauty salons across Turkey resumed business after nearly two months on Monday as the country gradually eases restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Across the country, visitors, wearing masks, have had their temperature checked before they were allowed to enter the mall or salon.
The number of people allowed into the malls is restricted, while sanitizers are placed at certain points and banners and announcements continue to remind people of social distancing measures during the day.
The vast majority of the malls started operated Monday, said Hüseyin Altaş, the head of the Shopping Centers and Investors Association, adding that they were ready for normalization.
Explaining that this opening is a trial opening, Altaş said, “most of our malls are open but a large majority of our retailers there will be making preparations until June 1.”
He noted it was a cautious and partial opening. “I estimate that the number of consumer entrances will stand at around 30% and turnovers will be around 50%,” Altaş was cited as saying by Anadolu Agency (AA).
Shopping malls, ordered to close on March 21 to stem the spread of COVID-19, are reopening two weeks before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which normally spurs a spike in shopping.
The Council of Shopping Centers recently said that personnel and customers should wear masks and continue to observe social distancing rules in all malls.
Mall administrators should also use body temperature thermometers, decrease elevator capacities or limit usage, provide disinfectants and take measures to prevent crowds, the group said in a press release.
Shops are also being told to encourage contactless payment methods.
After being closed since March 21, hairdressers and beauty salons also reopened with personnel and customers wearing masks. These shops are to operate for 12 hours a day, receive a limited number of customers at a time and use disposable towels.
According to guidelines issued by the Interior Ministry, shops must operate on a by-appointment basis only, customers have to sit at a distance from each other, and both clients and stylists are required to wear masks. Barbers are allowed to cut hair but not shave facial hair, as per ministry guidelines.
Ankara started implementing containment measures after its first coronavirus case was reported in early March. It had imposed travel restrictions in 31 major cities and also shut schools, restaurants, bars and shops.
Last week, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan outlined Turkey’s normalization process, saying the country was starting to gradually roll back coronavirus containment measures. Erdoğan also lifted travel bans on seven cities and provinces. The borders of 24 cities, including Istanbul and Ankara, remain closed through May 19, a national holiday in Turkey.
The return to a “new normal” would be gradually implemented through July after the spread of the virus slowed over the past two weeks, Erdoğan said.