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Turkey takes new measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak

Turkey takes new measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak

Turkey is juggling the resumption of daily life and the necessary measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak. This difficult task has forced authorities to introduce new rules, including new restrictions for wedding parties and more working options.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan issued a new presidential decree Wednesday that made an informal working model official. Under the decree, all state institutions may now implement flexible working methods. In March, when the outbreak was first reported in the country, Turkey started allowing civil servants to work from home and in varied shifts, replacing a brief administrative leave with the continued but safe working scheme.

The new decree published in the Official Gazette orders new working schemes in a bid “to minimize COVID-19 outbreak from spreading.” To continue providing services during the outbreak, all institutions will provide remote working or new shifts for employees. Administrators, from ministers to governors, will plan new options. For those working in rotating shifts, administrative leaves will be in place for shifts they do not work. Those working remotely and working in rotating, reduced shifts will have equal work responsibility.

On Tuesday evening, the Interior Ministry ordered a ban on some social activities, including traditional henna nights and engagement ceremonies, in 14 provinces, starting Wednesday. The directive, which explains some new measures taken against the COVID-19 pandemic, was sent to provincial governorates. The provinces include the capital Ankara, northwestern Bursa, central Çorum, Kayseri, Konya and Yozgat, southern Adana, southeastern Diyarbakır, Gaziantep, Mardin and Şanıurfa, and eastern Ağrı, Erzurum and Van.

In the 14 provinces, weddings will be limited to just one hour and the chairs in wedding halls will be rearranged in line with social distancing rules. The dance floors will be closed. All kinds of food and beverage service and catering, except packaged water service, will be prohibited, including meals at weddings. Citizens aged 65 and over and children under the age of 15 who are not first- or second-degree relatives of the bride and groom will be prohibited from attending weddings and related ceremonies. At least one public officer such as a municipal police officer will attend wedding ceremonies to ensure measures are followed.

Wedding parties are already subject to severe limitations all across Turkey but blatant violations of rules, from social distancing to wearing masks, in some wedding parties have made the headlines recently.