More than 2 million “work exemption permits” that allow some employees to continue working during the current full lockdown have been issued, the Home Office said.
The government has said all businesses will be closed during the lockdown, but there will be exemptions to ensure the continuity of some essential activities and special permits will be issued to these workers.
Sectors that are exempt from the restrictions include production, manufacturing, food, hygiene and health services.
“A total of 2.05 million work exemption documents have been posted online via e-devlet and the Home Office’s electronic application platforms,” the ministry said in a statement on 2 may.
Production and supply operations are to continue during the lockdown, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on May 1.
“Turkey is under complete lockdown but no essential operations. Agricultural products continue to be delivered; the main engine of commerce is running, ”he added.
Soylu also noted that authorities had issued travel permits to more than 178,000 people.
Intercity travel is also restricted during the lockdown and requires special permission from authorities.
The minister, however, criticized the media coverage of the situation in the cities, saying they gave a false impression that “everyone was in the streets despite the restrictions”.
Soylu’s criciticms came after reports of traffic jams, especially on Istanbul’s highways. These scenes have also been widely discussed on social media platforms, with people claiming the restrictions are not being properly implemented.
“About 95 percent of the population is at home. Town squares are empty, but there are vehicles on the main roads and highways as people commute to work, ”he said.
The minister noted that police units are carrying out checks on the roads to see if motorists and people in these vehicles are allowed to travel, suggesting that the long line of vehicles scenes stem from such inspections.
“We stop vehicles at the entrances to towns and bridges. We are trying to do our job, ”Soylu said.