Turkey shutters cinemas hours after saying they could re-open

The Turkish Interior Ministry reversed a decision to re-open cinemas as part of the country’s easing of coronavirus restrictions.

The ministry said on Tuesday that cinemas would be able to restart operations at 50 percent capacity. But later in the day, it walked back on the decision after consultations with the Tourism Ministry and industry representatives, NTV television reported. The facilities will remain closed until July 1, it said.

Turkish measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 were relaxed on Tuesday after daily infections fell to lowest levels since February. The country has seen a decline in daily cases following tight restrictions implemented during the first half of May.

The decision to keep cinemas closed came after some artists and actors on Tuesday accused the government of discriminating against the entertainment industry. The Interior Ministry did not include theatres and concert halls in the new relaxation measures.

Turkey’s music and theatre sectors have been victimised by the government, artist Bedri Baykam told Sözcü newspaper.   

Turkey recorded 7,112 new cases and 129 deaths on Tuesday, Health Ministry data showed. Daily infections had risen above 63,000 in mid-April.