The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, delivered a speech on March 27, 2020 regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, announcing the additional measures the government will undertake in the fight against the pandemic.
Following the announcement, the Ministry of Internal Affairs published the Additional Circular regarding the Inter-city Passenger Transportation within the scope of Measures Against COVID-19 (“Additional Circular“) dated March 28, 2020. The Additional Circular imposes restrictions on inter-city travels.
What Falls Within the Scope of the Additional Measures?
The President announced the following measures:
- The private sector will transition to work remotely operating with minimum number of employees, in a similar fashion to the public sector;
- Inter-city travels will be subject to the approval of each area’s governorship;
- All international commercial passenger flights are suspended;
- A pandemic board will be established in each city, led by the governor, that will monitor the enforcement of the measures;
- Soldiers will be subject to 14 days of quarantine following their summoning and discharge;
- Public access to picnic areas, forests, cultural sites and similar locations will be prohibited during the weekends and group gatherings will be prohibited during the weekdays; and
- Distant seating arrangements will be imposed in all public transportation.
The Additional Circular restricts inter-city travel through inter-city bus services as of 5:00 PM on March 28, 2020. Individuals willing to travel on inter-city buses must obtain a permit by applying to the Travel Permit Boards established in coordination with the governorships and district governorships.
Individuals who are referred by the decision of a doctor, whose immediate family member passed away, who are seriously ill, or who arrived to the place of departure within the last 15 days and have no accommodation in that place are eligible for travel permits. Additionally, individuals who are traveling with a permit may be subject to various checkpoints and inspections, and if necessary, quarantine.
An announcement is yet to be made regarding how the restriction on inter-city travels will apply to air travel or travel in privately owned vehicles. A legal regulation regarding the implementation of the additional measures on inter-city travels by air travel or privately owned vehicles is expected to be published soon.
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, President Erdoğan announced various additional measures in accordance with the advice of the Science Board. Some of these measures, particularly those concerning remote working in the private sector and travel restrictions, affect the daily lives of both individuals and businesses.
It is crucial for individuals and companies to follow and comply with all existing and future legal regulations to ensure public health.