Earlier this week, authorities announced that only 7,000 people will be allowed to walk on Istanbul's famous İstiklal Avenue at any one time, as part of new measures against the novel coronavirus. The new measure came into effect on Dec. 3.
Also, pedestrians are allowed to walk on the right side of the more than one-kilometer-long avenue, which is divided by a tramroad.
The police started to observe the crowd on the avenue in an attempt to make sure that only one person is located in a 3-square-meter space. Normally, the avenue is so packed with people that there is one person in a 1-square-meter space.
Barriers have been placed at the entrance and exit of the avenue to limit access, with police trying to monitor how many people the avenue is hosting, sometimes with the help of drones. However, it is not still clear how the exact number of pedestrians can be determined.
“The most difficult thing on the earth is to monitor the people. The limit is 7,000 people, but how are you going to count them? Counting people with drones does not make sense; drones cannot do that. Those who need to walk on the right side of the avenue are walking on the left side, and those who need to walk on the left side of the avenue are walking on the other side,” one of the pedestrians told Gazete Duvar.
Meanwhile, the authorities are preparing to place QR code scanner devices at the entrance and exit of the avenue. Once pedestrians point their mobile phones to these devices, the relevant app will allow the authorities to determine the number of people. However, citizens may still choose not to use this app or may not have their mobile phones on them.
In May, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca had criticized citizens for flocking to the famous avenue with complete disregard for social distancing.
"The scenes of İstiklal Avenue were not good today. It's too soon for that many people to enter a single photograph," Koca had said on May 5.