Spotlight: Bars in Turkey’s Istanbul follow ban on night music to curb coronavirus

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ISTANBUL, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) — Ayse Celem, a bar owner in one of the upscale neighborhoods in Turkey’s Istanbul, discussed the change of business plans for the night with her bartender to follow the new anti-coronavirus ban.

“Under these circumstances, we have to tell the DJ to start his performance at 9 p.m. instead of 10:30 p.m. and finish strictly at midnight,” Celem told Gurkan Basaran, the bartender, at the terrace of the bar with a beautiful view of the Bosphorus Strait in Arnavutkoy on the European side of the city.

“Then, we will continue serving our guests without music,” she added.

The bars and nightclubs in the neighborhood are usually flooded by young Istanbulites as music and entertainment continue until the first lights of the morning.

Earlier on Tuesday, however, the Interior Ministry announced that all kinds of music in restaurants, cafes, and bars across the country were banned after midnight to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that restaurants and cafes would be subject to stricter inspections as the number of daily new coronavirus cases keeps surging in the country.

For Celem, the main concern of the authorities was to prevent people from getting close to each other to make their voices heard in a high-volume musical environment.

“The clients have to remove their masks to sip their drinks in bars, which make them vulnerable against the pandemic,” she added.

After being closed for about six months since mid-March, when the COVID-19 was first seen in the country, Celem’s bar reopened last week with strict measures against the pandemic.

The crew has been taking all the possible precautions at the venue, disinfecting the entire space with sprays regularly, installing hand sanitizers at every corner, and taking the temperatures of the guests at the entrance.

Despite all the preventative measures, bars and nightclubs are shown as the riskiest places in terms of the spread of the pandemic by experts.

For Selcuk Bilgin, an intensive care physician, people standing side-by-side without masks in crowded locations can easily neglect the rules against the pandemic.

The physician, who is currently taking care of COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Erbil in northern Iraq, therefore, urged the citizens to wear their masks all the time and follow the hygiene rules.

The daily number of new cases in the country was reported as 1,761 on Tuesday, taking the total number of infections to 283,270. The death toll reached 6,782, with the daily addition of 52. Enditem

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