Love them or hate them, face masks have become a symbol of the coronavirus pandemic. While the use of face-coverings has been controversial, and a topic of hot debate, more and more countries are passing laws requiring citizens to wear face masks while out and about. Turkey is no exception.
Do I need to wear a face mask in Turkey?
About a month ago, due to the number of covid cases, which were starting to climb again, the Turkish government passed a law that requires everyone over the age of two years old to wear a face mask in public.
This is particularly important in places where social distancing is impossible: for example, in gatherings, and on public transport.
As with any rule, there are a few people who will opt to ignore the law, and go without a mask. But those who leave the home without a face covering are liable for a 900TL (US$131) fine.
Where do I need to wear a face mask in Turkey?
In short, anywhere you're bound to encounter crowds.
- Places of business, including shops, eateries, bars, salons, cinemas.
- Museums and heritage sites.
- Sports facilities like stadiums and gyms.
- Outdoor sites like beaches and parks.
- On public transport.
- When you're in a vehicle with others. This includes personal vehicles as well as taxis.
In some parts of the country, for example, Mugla, which encompasses Bodrum and Fethiye, laws are even stricter, and you'll need to wear a mask any time you're outside of your home.
Is there anywhere I don't have to wear a face mask in Turkey?
There are a very few exceptions to the rules. You can remove your face mask:
- When you are sitting down at a restaurant, cafe or bar.
- When you are swimming, or poolside on a sun bed at the beach.
However, the general rule of thumb is that you should be wearing a face mask as a default.
If Turkey's response is working ,why the need for face masks?
When Turkey reopened for business a month or so ago - opening the doors of malls, mosques and other public facilities - numbers of coronavirus cases began to inch up. The climbing numbers prompted swift measures from the government, including strict adherence to social distancing and hand washing, and the mandatory use of face masks.
A month later, Turkey's cases are falling again, but authorities remain on high alert for pinch points like the outdoor gatherings that come with warm weather, and festivals like Kurban Bayram.
Tips for wearing a face mask
- Clean and dry your hands first, before placing the mask over your nose and mouth and securing with ties or loops.
- Make sure the mask fits snugly, and is moulded to your face and around your nose, fully covering your nose, mouth and chin.
- Do not touch the mask while you are wearing it: that means no adjusting, or pulling it down below your chin.
- When you remove it, dispose of it safely and then wash your hands straight away.
- Replace the mask if it becomes dirty or damp.
- Never share face masks with others, or on young children or anyone unable to remove them without assistance.
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