As Turkey eases measures against the coronavirus amid improving numbers, shopping malls Monday reopen their doors after a nearly two-month closure, and with stepped-up hygiene.
The move comes after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last week announced that the country was starting to reduce COVID-19 containment measures and outlined the country's steps to start post-coronavirus normalization.
Shopping malls, ordered closed on March 21 to stem the spread of COVID-19, reopen two weeks before the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which normally spurs a spike in shopping.
Ahead of the reopening, the Council of Shopping Centers said that personnel and customers should wear masks and continue to observe social distancing rules in all malls.
Mall administrators should also use 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.
Istanbul Shopping Mall Managing Director Kemal Baştürk said centers will gradually start their operations and will serve guests between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.
While some of the customers will normalize more rapidly, Baştürk said it would take some time to overcome the uneasy process and would avoid closed environments for some time.
He also noted that temperatures would be measured at entrances and mask controls will be made.
"With the new period, changes in operational processes such as cleaning, hygiene and order will be inevitable for customers who come to shopping centers to complete their shopping with minimal contact, rigorous implementation of social distances and so on. The social distance rule of 1.5 meters (4.92 feet) will be applied at mall entrances," Baştürk added.
In addition to shopping malls, hairdressers and some stores will also open Monday. Erdoğan said they will be allowed to open provided they abide by normalization rules.
Numerous factories in the country will also restart production within the week.
After originating in China last December, COVID-19 has spread to at least 187 countries and regions. Europe and the U.S. are currently the worst-hit regions.
The pandemic has killed over 279,000 worldwide with more than 4.03 million total infections, while recoveries surpassed 1.38 million, according to figures compiled by the U.S.' Johns Hopkins University.
Turkey continues to report declines in its daily death tolls and number of patients in intensive care units, while its registered recoveries reached nearly 90,000, according to Health Ministry data Saturday.
The number of people who have died from COVID-19 has risen by 50 to 3,739, the data showed. The overall number of cases rose by 1,546 to 137,115.
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