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Announcement on the New Legal and Administrative Developments in the Corona Virus (Covid-19) Outbreak

2020, Erdemir&Özmen Attorney Partnership

Announcement on the New Legal and Administrative Developments in the Corona Virus (Covid-19) Outbreak

As is known, a number of new developments occurred due to the Corona Virus (Covid-19) outbreak. We would like to furnish you explanations on the recent situation in the period.

  • Currently, the activities of a number of workplaces are suspended by the State, and the curfew is in effect for the persons over 65 years of age and for the persons with a chronic disease. It is possible to summarize the details of the prohibitions and restrictions as follows:
  • Pursuant to the additional notice sent by the Ministry of Interior to the Offices of Provincial Governors, it is ordered that, in the 81 provinces, the activities of theaters, cinemas, performance centers, concert halls, engagement/wedding-ceremony halls, restaurants/cafés with live performance/music, casinos, pubs, taverns, coffee houses, coffee shops, cafeterias, countryside gardens, waterpipe lounges, waterpipe cafés, internet cafés, all kinds of video game arcades, all kinds of indoor playgrounds for children (including shopping malls and restaurants), tea gardens, clubhouses, amusement parks, swimming pools, Turkish baths, saunas, thermal springs, massage parlors, SPAs and sports centers be temporarily suspended as of 24:00 on 16.03.2020 [1].
  • Pursuant to another additional notice sent by the Ministry of Interior to the Offices of Provincial Governors, it is stated that, in the 81 provinces, as of 24:00 PM on 21.03.2020, all diners and restaurants serving and/or not serving alcoholic beverages, as well as pastry shops and patisseries and similar workplaces shall serve only in takeaway capacity, perform only delivery services or operate in a similar way, without allowing their customers to eat and/or drink there and that the diners/restaurants, pastry shops, patisseries and similar workplaces shall therefore be ensured to remove the tables [2].
  • Pursuant to another additional notice sent by the Ministry of Interior to the Offices of Provincial Governors, in the 81 provinces, the activities of barbers, hairdressers and beauty centers are temporarily suspended as of 18:00 on 21 March 2020, since the citizens come together collectively there and since physical contacts occur for many times in the course of the operations carried out there [3]. 
  • The citizens who are 65 years of age and over 65 years of age and who have a weak immune system and chronic lung disease, asthma, COPD, cardiovascular disease, kidney, hypertension, and liver disease, using drugs that disrupt the immune system are restricted from leaving their houses, walking in the parks, open areas and traveling by public transportation and are not allowed to go out on the streets after 24:00 on 21 March 2020 [4]. Pursuant to an additional notice complementary to this prohibition, exceptions are brought to the scope of the prohibition/restriction orders by the governors/district governors to healthcare professionals and particularly doctors as well as mayors, provincial directors, social service institutions officers, public servants/public service providers and pharmacists, etc., with the exception of cancer patients and organ transplants, whose services will be needed to ensure the continuity of public services, by the nature of the public services they carry out and due to the urgency in the current situation [5].

We would like to state that it should be taken into consideration that new measures may be taken due to the outbreak which increases its effect day by day.

The following are the other measures taken and the other arrangements made up to the present under the Presidential Circulars and Decrees published in the Official Gazette and entered into force:

It is decreed that “Flexible working methods, such as remote working, working on a rotational basis, may apply to the employees at public institutions and organizations. The top executives are authorized to determine such method. Those who work on a rotational basis within this scope shall be deemed to be on administrative leave during the period that they are actually absent at their public institutions or organizations; and during this period, these persons shall be deemed to have actually fulfilled their duties constituting the basis of their employment [6].

It is decreed that all enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings being conducted across the Country, with the exclusion of the enforcement proceedings for alimony receivables, are hereby suspended as of 21.03.2020 until 30.04.2020 and that, within this framework, the party and enforcement transactions shall not be carried out and requests for new enforcement and bankruptcy proceedings shall not be received and provisional attachment decisions shall not be enforced and executed as of 21.03.2020 until 30.04.2020 [7].

It is considered appropriate to postpone, by the end of April, all kinds of scientific, cultural, artistic and similar meetings and activities that will be organized in national and international levels in indoor or outdoor areas [8].

There is no doubt that the outbreak will also have impacts in economic terms. Within this context, the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared the package named “Economic Stability Shield” as follows, in his speech dated 18.03.2020 (cited from the speech):

“1- We hereby postpone, for 6 months, the April, May and June payments pertaining to the Concise and VAT withholding and the SSI premiums for Retail, Shopping Mall, Iron-Steel, Automotive, Logistics-Transportation, Cinema-Theater, Accommodation, Food-Beverage, Textile-Garment and Event-Organization sectors.  

2- We will not apply accommodation tax until November.

3- We have postponed, for a period of 6 months, the payments of the revenue shares and the rights of servitude related to hotel rentals for April, May, and June.

4- We reduce the VAT rate from 18 percent to 1 percent for a period of 3 months in domestic airline transportation.

5- As regards the firms whose cash flows deteriorate since they are affected by the measures related to the COVID-19 outbreak; we will defer, for minimum 3 months, these firms’ loan principal and interest repayments to banks, and we will provide additional financing support to these firms when necessary.

6- We will provide stock financing support to exporters for the purpose of maintaining the capacity utilization rates during the temporary slowdown period in exportation.

7- As regards the artisans and craftsmen who make the request declaring that their businesses are affected negatively in this period; we will defer, for a period of 3 months and on an interest-free basis, the April, May and June principal and interest repayments pertaining to these artisans’ and craftsmen’s loan debts to Halkbank. 

8- We will increase the Credit Guarantee Fund limit from 25 billion Turkish Liras to 50 billion Turkish Liras; and in loans, we will give the priority to the firms and SMEs that have liquidity needs and collateral deficits since they are affected negatively by the developments.

9- We will encourage the relevant entities to put in place credit packages for social purposes under favorable and advantageous conditions for our citizens.

10- For the houses in the value of less than 500 thousand Turkish Liras, we will increase the credit viability from 80 percent to 90 percent and we will reduce the minimum down payment to 10 percent.

11- We will ensure that the annotation “force majeure” is put onto the credit registry records pertaining to the firms that have lapsed into default in April, May and June by the effect of the measures taken against the spread of the virus.

12- We defer, for 3 months, the durations of the concise declarations including the payments of the deductions made at the source such as withholding.

13- We will continue the minimum wage support.

14- We will ensure that the flexible and remote working models in our legislation are made more effective.

15- We will put the Short-Time Working Allowance into operation and we will facilitate and accelerate the processes necessary to benefit therefrom. Thus, while providing a temporary income support to the laborers at the workplaces that have suspended their activities, we will also reduce the cost on the part of employers.

16- We increase the lowest pension to 1,500.00 Turkish Liras.

17- We will pay the pensioners’ holiday bonuses at the beginning of April. Furthermore, we will ensure that our pensioners’ retirement promotion payments are directly deposited into their accounts, without having to go to the bank branches.

18- We allocate an additional resource in the amount of 2 billion Turkish Liras for the cash aids that will be provided to the needy families as per the criteria determined by our Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services.

19- In order to ensure continuity in employment, we increase the 2 months’ compensatory working period to 4 months.

20- Against the possibility of disruption in global supply chains, we will develop alternative channels as per the priorities we determine in both production and retail as well.

21- For our elderly people over 80 years of age who live alone, we put into operation a periodic follow-up program comprised of social services and home healthcare services”.

References:

[1] https://www.icisleri.gov.tr/81-il-valiligine-koronavirus-tedbirleri-konulu-ek-genelge-gonderildi

[2] https://www.icisleri.gov.tr/koronavirus-salgini-ile-mucadele-kapsaminda-lokantalarla-ilgili-ek-genelge

[3] https://www.icisleri.gov.tr/bakanligimiz-81-il-valiligine-koronavirus-tedbirleri-konulu-ek-bir-genelge-daha-gonderdi

[4] https://www.icisleri.gov.tr/65-yas-ve-ustu-ile-kronik-rahatsizligi-olanlara-sokaga-cikma-yasagi-genelgesi

[5] https://www.icisleri.gov.tr/65-yas-ve-ustu-ile-kronik-rahatsizligi-olanlara-sokaga-cikma-yasagi-ek-genelgesi

[6] https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2020/03/20200322M1.pdf

[7] https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2020/03/20200322-2.pdf

[8] https://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2020/03/20200320-18.pdf


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