Please note the rules we refer to below may be different for Turkish nationals.
Things are constantly changing so in this article we provide links to web sites that should always reflect the latest position, including UK and Turkish government sites.
Some web sites that we point you to may be in Turkish in which case you may wish to use a web browser that will translate the words in to English, such as the Chrome browser.
Amongst other things we look at curfews, HES codes, travel permits, masks, social distancing, quarantine requirements and Covid-19 testing.
Keeping Kalkan safe
Let’s start with the good news. We have spoken with doctors in Kalkan and Kaş and they have confirmed that there are no known Covid-19 cases in our area. KTLN will provide updates on this from time to time. Look out for our reports.
Random testing is being carried out in Kalkan and Kaş. Last week 105 tests were carried out in Kaş district. All negative. These are polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab tests to establish if people currently have the virus.
The not so good news is that Coronavirus is still out there across the world and remains a threat to our health and wellbeing.
So it’s important to follow the latest government advice in order to protect ourselves, our families and our neighbours. Here’s what you need to know if you live in Kalkan or you’re thinking of visiting.
If you want to know the number of people affected by the virus in Turkey here are a couple of web sites that may be of interest.
Daily reports can be found here (in English): Turkish Ministry of Health Coronavirus Reports
This page from the Turkish Ministry of Health has lots of useful information (in Turkish): Coronavirus Information
Travelling from UK to Turkey
On Friday 3rd July the UK government changed its travel advice for Turkey. You may now visit Turkey without the need to go in to quarantine when you return home to England. The other UK nations may have different rules. And obviously you don't need to quarantine when you arrive in Turkey from the UK.
Please see the KTLN article on how Dalaman airport is preparing for the return of passengers.
Don't forget that before arriving in Turkey you have to complete a Passenger Location Form. You can do this at the airport or on the plane (depending on the operator) but to save time you can print it off and complete it before you leave home. Here is the link to the form: IATA Passenger Location Form
And before you fly back to the UK you must complete another form showing your return travel and contact details. You can do this online here: UK Journey & Contact Details Form When you return to the UK you need to show a paper copy of this form or you can have it on your smartphone.
An issue at the moment appears to be uncertainty around flights. Many are being cancelled at quite short notice, throwing holiday plans in to chaos. Ferry services between Turkey and Greece are also affected at the moment.
But there are some reports that the situation with flights is now improving: Daily Sabah news report
If you get as far as Dalaman or Antalya airports your transfer to Kalkan should operate exactly as before except that you must wear a mask. The driver should also wear a mask. The vehicle should have been thoroughly disinfected and cleaned.
The Hayat Evi Sığar (HES) System
You may have heard about the above app that is available on both Apple and Android smartphones. Or you may have heard about the importance of obtaining a HES code.
The HES system is a way of tracking people within Turkey and monitoring if they have Covid-19 symptoms and alerting the authorities (and travel operators) about potential cross-infection scenarios on public transport. It’s a contact tracing system. It is not a permit to travel. It is only a requirement for public transport scenarios where you may come in to contact with others.
To properly understand what HES is and what it isn’t, and also how you can get a code, please read this official government web site (in English). It’s pretty comprehensive. Hayat Evi Sığar (HES)
If you are on an international flight, or a domestic flight that connects to an international flight you do not need an HES code. If you are a foreign resident and planning a domestic flight you may find the following link to a Turkish Airlines web page about HES codes helpful: Turkish Airlines HES Information
You can find the HES app in the Apple and Google app stores:
Permits to travel between provinces are available online via the e-Devlet system or by calling Alo 199.
You need to first register with the e-Devlet system before you can use it. It's available to Turkish citizens and foreign residents with a kimlik number (starting 99...).
Turkish citizens and foreign residents (but not tourists) who are over the age of 65 still require a permit if travelling from one province to another, so for example from Kalkan to Fethiye.
When we checked with the authorities about the requirement for foreigners aged over 65 in Turkey to obtain inter-provincial travel permits we were told that they are not required by ‘tourists’. Strictly speaking ‘foreign residents’ are not tourists but that distinction may be a grey area in terms of implementing the rules. If you are a foreign resident we do not advise testing this. The rules say a foreign resident over 65 requires a permit to travel between provinces.
There is no longer a requirement for under 18s to obtain permission to travel providing they are accompanied by a parent.
Getting the basics right
The official advice is to wash your hands regularly using soap and hot water. Hand sanitisers are also useful and can sometimes be found in shops, restaurants and other premises.
Social distancing is also a requirement - a minimum of 1.5 metres where possible, although it is acknowledged that in some places this is difficult to achieve.
Masks should be worn in public places where you will come in to close contact with others such as shops, banks, cafes and restaurants, offices and public transport, including taxis.
In restaurants it is impractical for customers to wear masks when eating and drinking but they should be worn at all other times, including when leaving the table. Staff should wear masks. You are advised to wash your hands with soap and water before and after your meal.
UPDATED 16th July 2020: When in your own car in Antalya province the message we got from the local Jandarma is that you should 'take your mask'. But there is some confusion around the situations where you should actually wear it. We were unable to find anything official on a Turkish government web site.
Many Kalkan people we spoke to were adamant that if it is you and your partner in your own car (i.e. the same household) it makes no sense to wear a mask. But until we find a definitive answer you are going to have to make the call. If you find an official announcement on this we would love to hear form you.
In Antalya province, which obviously includes Kalkan, there is no need to wear masks at all times when outdoors and you are not in a confined space. Nor do you have to wear them in your own home.
Curfews - Updated 16th July 2020
In Antalya province there remains a daily curfew for those who are 65 years old or above, from 20.00 until 10.00 the following morning. This used to apply to Turkish citizens, foreign residents and foreign tourists. However with effect from 16th July 2020 Antalya province has relaxed the curfew rules for tourists who are 65 years old or above. See this link for the announcement: Antalya Province web site
In neighbouring Muğla province the curfew has also been lifted for tourists who are 65 years old or above.
What you can expect from local businesses
As individuals we must take personal responsibility and follow the government rules. Businesses have rules to follow too.
If you want to see a comprehensive explanation of the Turkish government’s advice for businesses please look at this web page. https://hsgm.saglik.gov.tr/depo/covid19/Ingilizce/Salgin_Yonetimi_ve_Calisma_Rehberi/COVID19-SALGIN-YONETIMI-VE-CALISMA-REHBERI-ENG.pdf
You can download the above information (in English) as a PDF document if you want to read chapter and verse. Page 131 shows the suggested procedures for restaurants, cafes and other food and drink establishments.
This link takes you to the Antalya Provincial Health Directorate where you will find further information about Covid-19 safety regulations.
Taxis: According to the Antalya Provincial Health Directorate the maximum number of passengers permitted in a taxi is three. This is for a standard saloon car. For taxis that have a bigger capacity they can carry more than three, but working to a reduced capacity. The driver does not have to wear a mask if he is alone in the taxi but when carrying passengers everyone in the vehicle must wear a mask.
Restaurants, cafes, gyms and beaches were permitted to re-open on 1st June 2020. Day by day more Kalkan businesses are re-opening, and there are some brand new businesses too.
Kalkan has already seen many domestic tourists arriving but the message we are hearing is that businesses are eagerly awaiting the return of foreign visitors.
How strictly are the Covid-19 rules being enforced?
In this report we have pointed out what the key rules are. But are they being followed?
The answer is sometimes they are and sometimes not. It’s a sliding scale where at one end some are being scrupulous and at the other end we have seen people openly admitting on social media that they have deliberately not been following the rules. Most people are probably somewhere in between those extremes.
It is our understanding that Kalkan businesses are all working hard on getting to grips with implementing the new Covid-19 safety rules.
Look out for KTLN updates providing news on how businesses are doing.
So who is checking?
It is the responsibility of the local authorities to monitor Covid-19 rules. That would include a number of government agencies, including local Belediye officials, as well as the Jandarma.
How rigorous are the checks?
It’s hard to say but it would be surprising if all authorities across Turkey were uniformly rigorous in enforcing the rules. Previous experience tells us that different towns and provinces apply rules according to their own interpretation. For example we saw this with the GIYKIMBIL laws.
It's probably fair to say that the authorities are not zealously scouring Kalkan seeking out Covid-19 rule-breakers but we understand that fines have been issued in our area.
Maybe KTLN readers could provide us with feedback on what they are seeing, how businesses are doing and what checks by the authorities they have observed. Provide feedback to KTLN
What to do if you think you may have Coronavirus
If you are in Kalkan and you have symptoms that may be related to the virus you should call the Ministry of Health hotline 184, self-isolate, and follow their advice. If you have the Hayat Evi Sığar (HES) app on your smartphone you can also report you are feeling unwell.
Depending on the severity of your symptoms you and anyone in your household may be required to self-isolate, or you may be asked to go to a medical facility - but not using public transport. In cases where symptoms are serious you may be advised to call 112 (ambulance).
It is important that you fully understand what health insurance cover you have. See this KTLN report which explains about special Coronavirus health insurance through Güneş Sigorta that is available for tourists coming to Turkey. If you have travel insurance please check the smallprint before you travel.
If you are a foreign resident living in Turkey you should have SGK health insurance or private health insurance to cover your medical bills. If you get the Coronavirus and you have no such health cover you will still be treated in a Turkish hospital but you should expect to pay for your treatment.
UK FCO Advice for British citizens in Turkey
In addition to all of the web links shown above we advise keeping up to date with these fast moving events by regularly checking the UK FCO web site: UK FCO - Advice for British Citizens in Turkey
Every one of us has our own personal take on the risks associated with Coronavirus.
Some will have good reason to be very cautious - perhaps they are considered to be more at risk from the virus. Others may want to get their lives back to something like normal and will feel that providing they follow the new rules they can move forward with caution.
Here in Kalkan the authorities tell us there is no Coronavirus and everyone wants to keep it that way.
In a town where tourism is the lifeblood of the economy most locals want to see foreign tourists return, but in a safe and controlled way. People are working hard to ensure things are as safe as they can be.
If you are hoping to come to Kalkan this year - even perhaps much later in the year, we wish you a pleasant holiday and urge you to follow all of the Covid-19 rules that are designed to keep us all safe. Kalkan is different but you will still find a warm welcome awaits you.
If you are not sure or have decided to postpone your trip to Kalkan we hope you stay safe and look forward to seeing you back here one day.
In the meantime you can get your Kalkan fix by reading KTLN.
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