Turkmen regional markets to open only twice a week

In July 2020 Turkmenistan introduced restrictions on the operation of shopping centres and markets.Since then only grocery stores have officially been allowed to operate but in practice the execution of the ban was randomly controlled.

Some shop owners and assistants had to pay a fine for under-the-counter activities whereas others continued to work openly.Starting from early November the authorities have been more vigilant in monitoring the restrictions.

Сorrespondents of “Chronicles of Turkmenistan” from Dashoguz report that the ban on bazaars and the majority of privately-owned stores was introduced on 31 October, 2020. Shop owners working illegally are threatened with fines of up to 2000 manats and revoking of their business license.

Grocery vendors have also been barred from selling produce. Vendors selling vegetables and dairy products have been deprived of the opportunity to work officially and go around bazaars with bulky bags offering their produce at lower prices than the shops.

The quotas for groceries sold at fixed prices in state-run grocery shops of Dashoguz and etraps are lower than in Ashgabat.Once a month customers are allowed to buy a kilo of chicken drumsticks, a kilo of sugar and half a liter of vegetable oil.

The total is about 30 manats.Customers are obliged to accept other groceries they do not need in a set package for the same price.

The centre of festivities “Rysgal”, owned by a nephew of the President, is also closed. In early October the only open restaurant in the city was located there.

Correspondents of “Chronicles of Turkmenistan” from Lebap velayat are reporting a similar situation. Stalls and shops selling consumer goods have been closed in all markets in the city of Turkmenabad and etraps of the province. Shops and vendors selling clothes, household cleaning goods and other manufactured goods are allowed to work on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Police officers, officials from public health and revenue authorities сlosely monitor the execution of the instructions issued by the velayat’s khyakim. Those who violate the regulations could face a fine of 1600 manats.

The police in Turkmenabat are now dispersing unauthorized markets selling used items such as clothing, books, spare parts and household appliances.

The ban on restaurants, cafes and centres for festivities was imposed in cities and etrap centres of the regions. Such venues located in rural areas are permitted to be open from 4 to 9 p.m.

Municipal police departments hold planned raids in bars, restaurants and discos. In cases of violations an owner might be held administratively liable. Moreover, a case of violating precautionary measures designed to prevent the spread of infectious diseases might be handed over to the prosecutor’s office.

At the same time, the shopping mall “Berkarar”, where cafes and clothes stores are open, is still operating in Ashgabat.

It is unknown whether these measures are attributed to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Turkmenistan.The Turkmen authorities continue to deny any coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, it has been three months since the President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov agreed to a second visit by the WHO team to Turkmenistan.

The WHO representatives who had intended to carry out independent testing of “pneumonia” patients, have not yet visited Turkmenistan.

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