Turkey might remove mask mandate for outdoors in June, says expert

Turkey might ease the mask mandate for outdoors starting in June, as part of the planned normalization process, according to Health Ministry's Social Sciences Board member Dr. Mustafa Necmi İlhan.

Duvar English

A member of the Turkish Health Ministry's Social Sciences Board has said that the government might ease the mask mandate for outdoors and allow restaurants and cafes to reopen in June as part of a planned normalization process.

"Maybe after June 1, the mask use might be eased in open areas, in areas which are not very crowded. For example, when we go to a market place we need to have our masks on, but there can be flexibility for the mask use for those who are on their way to work or school on an empty street,” Prof. Dr. Mustafa Necmi İlhan told state broadcaster TRT Haber on May 29.

“We need to have our masks with us [when outside]. I believe that the mask rule will still prevail on public transportation,” he said.

According to İlhan, restaurants and cafes will be allowed to accept customers after June 1 under certain restrictions. Currently, restaurants and cafes are only open for takeaway services.

“Certain conditions such as the distance between customers needs to be paid attention to. Restrictions might continue in businesses' closed areas because the disease spreads in closed areas much faster,” he said.

Turkey started easing its COVID-19 lockdown on May 17 by allowing movement during the day while keeping overnight and weekend curfews in place until June 1.

Following a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan next week, the county is expected to accelerate its normalization process.