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Foreign visitors will enjoy a “much more pleasant” experience visiting Turkish tourist sites over the next month while the nation endures a government-mandated coronavirus lockdown because the order has essentially freed up space at monuments for foreigners, Turkey’s tourism minister said Tuesday.

“Our most visited and important museums and archaeological sites will remain open [during the lockdown]. They (tourists) freely tour with their passports, visit museums and archaeological sites,” Turkish Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said at an event in Antalya, a resort city located along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, on April 27.

“Turkey’s important tourist destinations ‘are both open and much more pleasant,’” Ersoy said, according to the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah. “In some ways, being a tourist in Turkey is beneficial.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday ordered Turkey to enter a “full lockdown” from April 29-May 17 to curb the spread of the Chinese coronavirus amid a recent surge in daily infections across Turkey. The Turkish federal government will enforce the lockdown nationwide, which includes a “full-time” curfew from 7:00 pm on April 29 until 5:00 am on May 17, including weekdays and weekends.

“Residents will be required to stay home and can only leave the house for groceries and other essentials … But foreign tourists are free to roam,” Daily Sabah noted of the lockdown on Tuesday.

“The COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] related restrictions apply to all citizens and residents of Turkey; tourists are exempt,” the official U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey website confirmed on April 27.

“All international passengers age 6 years and older traveling to Turkey are required to have taken a COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] PCR [Polymerase Chain Reaction] test with a negative result within 72 hours prior to their flight. Passengers must submit their test results to the airline at the time of check-in,” according to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey website.

“All travelers age 6 years and older who arrive in Turkey through land or sea will be asked to present a negative PCR test result document issued 72 hours prior to arrival. Those who fail to do so at the border gate or seaport will be quarantined in the address to where they are going,” the website stated.

“[S]upermarkets, green grocers, bakeries, and butchers will be open from 10:00 [am] until 17:00 [5:00 pm]” during Turkey’s April 29-May 17 lockdown. “[I]ndividuals may shop for their essential needs at the closest store within walking distance (driving is not allowed). Most supermarkets and green grocers will be closed on Sundays,” according to the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey website.

Turkish workplaces must suspend their normal activities or shift to work-from-home modes during the quarantine period. Turkey’s Interior Ministry has allowed exemptions for some essential industries, such as the food and manufacturing sectors, which will continue to operate normally.

“All intercity travel will be subject to permission, whereas public transport will operate at 50 percent capacity. … Accommodation reservations do not provide an exception,” Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency reported Monday.

Turkey is a majority Muslim country and the restrictions will apply during “the entire holy Muslim month of Ramadan, as well as three days of the [Islamic] Eid festival,” according to Anadolu Agency.

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