Over 90 percent of Istanbul shopkeepers are struggling to cover their fixed costs, such as rent, bills and employee expenses, according to a fresh report released by the Istanbul Planning Agency, which runs under the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
The report was prepared following a survey with 702 shopkeepers in Istanbul's 39 districts.
The number of customers visiting hairdressers and barbershops decreased by 55 percent compared to the pre-pandemic period. A customer used to visit a barbershop/hairdresser on average every 29 days in the pre-COVID-19 period, whereas this time interval increased to 87 days, according to the survey.
Barbershops and hairdressers saw their income slashed by 53.4 percent on average, according to the survey.
The number of customers visiting stationeries decreased by 76 percent on average, leading to an income decrease of 64 percent.
Tailors have also seen a decrease in the number of their customers, marking an 80.5 percent fall. Their income fell by 70.7 percent on average.
Dry cleaning shops have similarly taken a blow with the COVID-19 pandemic, as their business volume decreased by 76 percent. Their income marked a decrease of 71.1 percent on average.
Restaurants and cafes also took a financial hit with the pandemic, as they saw an 83.5 percent decrease in their number of customers on average. They experienced a 73.1 percent decrease in their average income.
As of March 1, the Turkish government has begun easing measures imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The Health Ministry has classified cities into four risk areas (low, medium, high, or very high risk) depending on their virus infection level and will ease restrictions accordingly.