The COVID-19 respiratory disease has killed 6,640 people in Iran since the first two fatalities were reported in the city of Qom on February 19, according to authorities.
Its eight million residents are densely packed together and the capital is a magnet for hundreds of thousands of workers from other provinces.
The government moved to ease restrictions even as Tehran remained at red, the top level of its color coded risk scale.
While many people in Iran’s capital are taking advantage of loosened COVID-19 controls, some worry about a new spike in infections in what remains the Middle East’s deadliest virus epicenter.
“The line of fools,” muttered shopkeeper Manouchehr, peering disdainfully at a queue of customers outside a foreign currency dealer in the Sadeghieh district of western Tehran.
Many in the long line stood close to one another and did not wear masks.
The government began paring back Coronavirus controls outside Tehran a month ago, arguing that the economy — already sagging under punitive US sanctions — needed to get back to bare bones operations.
It allowed small businesses to reopen in the capital a week later, before permitting malls to welcome customers on April 21 and barbers on Wednesday.
In the capital, a member of the virus taskforce warned that current health protocols could not contain the spread of the illness in Tehran.
“With businesses reopening, people have forgotten about the protocols,” Ali Maher told ISNA news agency, adding that “maybe it was too soon” to return to normal life.