Starting with shopping malls that were closed for over a month, the country has entered the first phase of national reopening, following the advisories of health experts.

As part of a controlled transition, Turkey allowed the reopening of shopping malls from Monday onward, while several business sectors continue to follow the lockdown restrictions. 

Nearly 356 shopping centres across the country reopened after following more than a month of strict lockdown measures imposed by state officials to minimise the effects of novel coronavirus on Turkish society.

Soon after identifying the initial curve of coronavirus cases, Turkish authorities were quick to change the working hours of shopping malls and then completely shutting them down following the advice of the country's Scientific Committee.

Only a few businesses dealing with essential commodities, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, were kept open on non-curfewed days. 

Aiming to normalise economic and social activities, the Turkish government has allowed restaurants, cafes, sports and entertainment sectors to operate in shopping malls.

The companies in these centres that will open optional shutters with flexible working hours on May 11 and will switch to the compulsory working system as of June 1.

New hygiene measures in malls

The malls will operate according to the Turkish Health Committee, which consists of scientists working to combat the pandemic: it has outlined instructions to provide hygienic shopping for customers.

Under these instructions:

- Entries and exits will be arranged in a way to prevent contact with each other and one-way round trip signs will be placed on the ground.

- As many entrance doors as possible will be opened in the mall.

- The number of people in the shopping centre will be limited to one person per 10 square metres.

- Entry will be allowed on a one-in, one-out basis.

- Medical or cloth masks will be worn at the entrance to the mall and those without a mask will not be allowed inside.

- At the entrance, those with a fever higher than 38 degrees will not be allowed inside and will be asked to go to the health institute.

- Social distancing rules will be followed at the entrances and exits of the shopping mall, people will be taken in in order, and the areas that need to be stopped in order will be determined by landmarks with a distance of at least one metre between them.

- Customers will be informed about the rules to be followed in the shopping mall within the scope of Covid-19 with announcements or videos. In these announcements, it will be requested that the shopping centre visit should not be longer than three hours and not be visited in groups.

- Use of all kinds of tables and chairs on the dining floor will be prevented. 

- Collective events such as concerts and shows, brochure distribution, and promotional applications will not be made.

- Smoking, recreation and playgrounds, cinemas and masjids will not be used. Car wash and valet service will not be provided.

- It is forbidden to consume foods in general areas, the use of wheelchairs and high chairs, and the rental of strollers will not be allowed.

- One-third of the capacity of the elevators will be allowed to ride, and this number will be indicated at the entrance of the elevator. 

- In order to maintain social distance within the elevator, the areas where people should stop will be determined by landmarks with a distance of at least one metre between them.

- Cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, handrails and elevator buttons of escalators and other common areas will be provided at least three times a day.

Source: TRT World