Bakeries, pharmacies to be open in Istanbul during curfew
Bakeries, pharmacies to be open in Istanbul during curfew
Bakeries, pharmacies and private and public hospitals will be open during this weekend’s lockdown, the Interior Ministry has said on April 16. The 48-hour curfew will be effective on April 17 at midnight in the country’s 31 provinces, including the three largest cities of Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir. Special commissions, chaired by governors, will be in charge of bread distribution in neighborhoods, the Interior Ministry said in a circular issued to the governor’s offices in the 31 provinces.

Those commissions will layout plans for each neighborhood. During the lockdown, newspapers will be delivered to homes by newspapers’ vehicles, designated water delivery companies and Vefa Social Support Group. Companies that sell bottled drinking water and gas cylinders will also be open during the lockdown. The ministry also noted that some public offices will also continue operations to provide essential services. People working for emergency call centers, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) and VEFA Social Support Group will be exempt from the curfew.

Groceries seek exemption

Meanwhile, a business group is seeking an exemption for grocery stores from the government during this weekend’s lockdown.

The Confederation of Turkish Tradesmen and Craftsmen (TESK) has sent a letter to the Interior Ministry inquiring whether such an exception for those shops could be possible, Bendevi Palandöken, the head of the organization, has said. “If a permission is issued for groceries people will have much easier access to basic supplies, including bread, milk and newspapers. This set up could prevent chaos and overcrowding at the stores,” Palandöken argued, adding that keeping grocery stores may also help prevent hoarding and price gouging. He said that people tend to do excessive shopping to prepare for the two-day curfew.

“They buy more than they could possibly consume. Such behavior results in damages to the supply chain.” Palandöken also argued that shopping at neighborhood groceries could be much safer for the public since unlike supermarkets they are not excessively crowded. “Those smaller shops also deliver orders to homes, because of this service people do not swarm to grocery stores.” Bayram Kutuk, the head of a chamber which represents grocery store owners in the western province of Kocaeli, also believes that such a regulation during the lockdown could make people’s lives easier. “Grocery shops could take in turns serving people or some other solution could be considered. Almost each neighborhood has a grocery store, people can satisfy their immediate needs at those stores.

Another chamber head from the southern province of Gaziantep underlined that shop owners are acting very cautiously and taking all necessary precautions against the coronavirus. “Some shop owners do not even let customers in. All grocery stores can do this and serve their customers by heeding social distancing rules. If we keep those shops open, the wheel of the economy will keep turning,” Vakkas Katırlı added.
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