Müzeyyen Yüce / DUVAR
Amid the outbreak of coronavirus in Turkey the government first temporarily closed bars and nightclubs, and then proceeded to shut down cafes, restaurants, gyms and other facilities. Despite the contrary message from President Tayyip Erdoğan's office, fears from a state of emergency and curfews still hold among public. Especially in big cities, many people continue to rush to the supermarkets to buy food, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene products.
One customer in Ankara said they bought enough provisions to last for several months in order to not leave the house:
“It's not coronavirus but starving that I am afraid of,” they said. On the other hand, some customers reacted to other shoppers who were buying more products than necessary, saying much of it would end up in the garbage, urging them not to panic and saying that doing this much shopping was not reasonable.
Some customers have arrived at a supermarket in Ankara's central district of Çankaya wearing masks. Those with masks have reacted to those coming without taking any precautions, and one customer requested an employee to disinfect the register after every customer.
“We can't see what's ahead, so we are buying whatever we can find. A curfew can be issued at any moment. We are living through a minor apocalypse and we are all anxious,” said one customer.
“In particular, I bought pasta, flower, cooking oil, cologne, vinegar and bread. This will be enough for us to manage for awhile. The markets have been the winners during this period,” another customer said.
Supermarket employees have already been dealing with busy days, and that workload has only increased following the announcements from the Interior Ministry of the closure of bars and restaurants which resulted in a surge of customers. The only precaution that the employees, who deal with hundreds of customers and are continually touching money and credit cards is, can take is wearing latex gloves.
One employee said that a curfew would not change anything for them:
“At specific hours the markets will be open and we still will go to work. There is no time off for us. Are we not people too?” the employee said.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Ömer Fethi Gürer said that shopping centers, supermarkets and restaurants need to increase their precautions, increasing the number of employees in order to decrease the number of time they are spent at the cash register, requiring the use of gloves and masks, and using disinfectant hand solution after every transaction.