ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish airlines resumed limited domestic flights, restaurants welcomed sit-in customers and beaches and museums reopened as Turkey’s broadest easing of coronavirus restrictions came into effect.
A Turkish Airlines flight departed from Ankara airport for Istanbul on Monday as Turkey lifted a travel ban between 15 of its worst-affected provinces. The air routes between Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya and Trabzon are the first start, with others scheduled to follow gradually.
Traffic congestion returned to Istanbul, Turkey’s most populous city, while intercity roads filled with people heading for hometowns or to holiday resorts.
Meanwhile, restaurants and cafes opened their doors to a limited number of customers after some two months of take-away services only.
Istanbul’s 15th century Grand Bazaar, museums, gyms, child care centers and nurseries were among other venues allowed to resume operations.
Businesses will be required to ensure social distancing is maintained as well as strict hygiene conditions.
Bars, nightclubs and hookah bars however, will remain closed. A stay-at-home order for people aged 65 and older and minors also remains in place.
The easing of restrictions follows a slowdown in confirmed COVID-19 infections and deaths in the country.