A humble ceremony was held at one of the historic entrances of the bazaar with the participation of Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya and local authorities.
“Today we begin a controlled social life, which we define as the new normal,” said Yerlikaya at the ceremony, urging visitors and shop owners to wear masks and follow the rules on social distancing and hygiene.
“It is now time for us to go back to our businesses,” he also noted.
The administration of the bazaar decided to receive guests in a controlled manner, opening only 11 out of a total of 22 gates to ensure hygiene and allow temperature checks.
Constructed in 1461 during the Ottoman Empire era, it has more than 3,000 shops in over 60 covered streets, where approximately 30,000 people work. The bazaar is also among the most visited tourist destinations in Istanbul, attracting around 250,000 to 400,000 visitors per day.
Turkey entered a new normalization period as of Monday as COVID-19 cases started to drop over the past several weeks.
Restaurants, cafes, parks, beaches, daycare centers, kindergartens, libraries, sports facilities, swimming pools, and museums became operational as part of the new normalization steps. Turkey also lifted restrictions on domestic travels, and allowed public personnel to return to work.