Duvar English – Reuters

Some of Turkey’s largest clothing manufacturers announced on social media they were closing their stores indefinitely as of March 19 to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The stores’ announcements came hours after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan delivered a speech in which he announced a $15 billion aid package to offset the effects of the virus on the economy.

Turkey announced a second death and said cases of the highly contagious respiratory illness had nearly doubled to 191, as it ramps up measures to rein in the virus, closing cafes, suspending mass prayers and halting flights to and from 20 countries.

The major department store Boyner said they would “uphold their commitment to workers’ rights” during their temporary closing and invited customers to use their websites.

A global brand, and Turkey’s biggest producer of denim, Mavi Jeans said that they were switching to a remote working system in all their offices as well as closing down stores. Mavi shares dropped by 4.7 percent since the outbreak of the virus.

“Our first and foremost priority is the health and safety of our employees and our consumers globally,” Mavi said as it announced the closure of stores in Turkey, Germany and Canada, adding that its online stores would remain open.

Luxury goods chain Vakko said it was temporarily halting production activities as well as shutting down stores.

“We hope to meet soon in Beymens all over, with faith that we will soon get through these dire times as a global community,” said boutique Turkish store Beymen in an Instagram post in which they announced their temporary closing.

The major holding Altınyıldız also said they were closing their clothing stores indefinitely as of March 19.

On March 18, Erdoğan announced that the government would postpone debt payments and reduce the tax burden on some sectors in a package of measures aimed at supporting the economy. He called on people to restrict their movements.

“None of our citizens must leave their homes or get into contact with anyone, unless absolutely necessary, until the threat disappears,” Erdoğan said.

Amongst the measures announced, Erdoğan said Turkey’s tourism accommodation tax was being suspended until November to support the key tourism sector, which accounts for close to 12% of the economy. The debt repayments of companies affected by the coronavirus will be postponed for a minimum of three months.