Turkey to allow indoor dining as COVID figures drop

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 01 2021 07:58 AM | Updated as of Jun 01 2021 07:59 AM

Turkey to allow indoor dining as COVID figures drop 1
A photograph taken on March 12, 2021 shows colored teddy bears displayed on the windows of a building as part a campaign for a detergent brand, at the Nisantasi district in Istanbul. Ozan Kose, Agence France-Presse

ANKARA - Turkey will roll back coronavirus restrictions to allow indoor dining and end weekend lockdowns, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday.

Erdogan had ordered the end of dine-in service at restaurants and cafes in mid-April as the country suffered record levels of Covid-19 infections and deaths.

The president said that starting from June 1, cafes and restaurants will be able offer indoor dining between 7 am and 9 pm, and takeaway service until midnight.

The nation of 84 million saw its daily virus infection numbers soar past 60,000 in April.

But daily case numbers have since fallen below 10,000 -- with more than 6,500 recorded on Monday -- after the country went into its first full lockdown between April 29 and May 17.

Prior to that, Erdogan had opted to order weekend lockdowns instead of the longer confinement measures chosen by European countries.

Since mid-May, there have been weekend lockdowns which will come to an end this weekend, but citizens will still have to remain at home on Sundays, Erdogan said after a cabinet meeting.

There has also been a curfew between 9 pm and 5 am on weekdays, but this will now start an hour later at 10 pm, the president added.

Gyms will also be able to reopen from Tuesday, while weddings will be allowed to take place in indoor and outdoor areas.

Erdogan said there would be a "gradual return to normal", adding the measures announced would be for June and officials would reassess the situation again for next month.

Universities will be able to start the new academic year on September 13, he also said.

Primary school pupils will return to classrooms two days a week from Tuesday, and middle and high school students will do the same from June 7, the education ministry said.

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