Turkey’s Istanbul restricts indoor ceremonies over rising COVID-19 cases

Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul banned indoor engagement parties, circumcision ceremonies, henna nights, and similar activities as of Monday over the increasing number of daily new COVID-19 cases and deaths across the country.

The Istanbul governor’s office said at a written statement that wedding ceremonies continue to be held indoors, but with strict new measures.

It said the seating arrangement in wedding halls across the city would be in accordance with the social distancing measures and would not exceed one-third of the total capacity.

All kinds of food and beverage service, except bottled water, are banned in all sorts of wedding ceremonies, it added. Dancing is also forbidden during the ceremonies.

Citizens aged 65 and over and children under 15 who are not first or second-degree relatives of the bride and groom are forbidden from attending all types of wedding and related ceremonies, the statement noted.

Last week, Turkish authorities had adopted similar restrictions in 14 provinces out of 81 to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Istanbul, with a population of 16 million, had previously accounted for as much as 70 percent of the total COVID-19 cases in the country, but at the beginning of August, the rate dropped to 25-30 percent, according to the governor’s office.

The daily number of new cases in the country was reported as 1,482 on Sunday, taking the total number of infections to 268,546. The death toll reached 6,326, with the daily addition of 42, according to the latest figures released by the Health Ministry.