The Interior Ministry on Wednesday issued a new order regarding tourists from other countries, who had been exempt from coronavirus-related curfews, and banned their access to potential sites of New Year’s celebrations amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey.
Turkey will welcome the new year with a four-day curfew which will start at 9 p.m. on Thursday and end at 5 a.m. Monday. The curfew aims to prevent mass outdoor celebrations that can aggravate COVID-19 infection risk. Tourists, spared from full weekend lockdowns and nighttime curfews on weekdays, are allowed to go out, but certain sites will be off limits.
The ministry instructed governorates of 81 provinces to take measures against any New Year’s celebrations that would “lead people to come together in an uncontrollable way which might endanger fight against the outbreak.”
Among places which will be closed to tourists between 9 p.m. on Thursday and 10 a.m on Friday are Istanbul’s wildly popular Istiklal Avenue, Ankara’s July 15 Kızılay National Will Square, better known as Kızılay Square, and the western city of Izmir’s Gündoğdu Square.
The New Year’s curfew will begin at 9 p.m. Thursday, on Dec. 31 and it will end at 5 a.m. Monday, on Jan. 4.
Turkey has been implementing curfew on weeknights and full weekend curfews since Dec. 5 as part of measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.