Saudi Arabia’s authorities have decided to ease some restrictions put in place over COVID-19 fears, allowing movement and resumption of some economic and commercial activities, SPA reported early Tuesday May 26, citing an official source at the Interior Ministry.
The move also allows restarting of domestic flights, opening of mosques, cafes and restaurants and work attendance, however, the temporary suspension of Umrah pilgrimage remains in force.
The easing of restrictions will be carried out in a phased manner.
First Phase (Starting on Thursday May, 28, 2020 and ending on Saturday May, 30, 2020):
In the first phase, the movement within and between all regions of the Kingdom in private cars will be allowed from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. except in Makkah. Economic and commercial activities will resume in retail and malls and wh olesale shops but barber shops, beauty salons, health clubs, sports clubs, entertainment centers and cinemas will continue to remain shut due to social distancing concerns.
Second Phase (Starting on Sunday May, 31, 2020 and ending on Saturday June, 20, 2020):
In the second phase, the movement is allowed from 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. in all areas of the Kingdom, except in Makkah. All congregational prayers, including Friday prayers, will resume in all mosques across the Kingdom except in Makkah.
The suspension of workplace attendance will end, allowing all employees in ministries, government entities and private sector companies to return to working from their offices provided that they follow strict precautionary guidelines.
The suspension on travel between regions in the Kingdom using various transport methods will no longer be in place. Airlines will be allowed to operate domestic flights if they adhere to precautionary measures set by the civil aviation authority and the Ministry of Health. The suspension of international flights, will, however, continue until further notice.
Restaurants and cafes serving food and beverages can reopen, however, barber shops, beauty salons, health clubs, sports clubs, entertainment centers and cinemas will be barred from reopening in the second phase. The ban on social gatherings of more than 50 people, such as weddings and funerals will also continue to be banned.
Third Phase (Starting on Sunday June, 21, 2020):
In the third phase, the Kingdom will return to “normal” conditions as it was before the COVID-19 lock-down measures were implemented.
Meanwhile in Makkah, the first phase measures will be implemented between May, 31, 2020 to June, 20, 2020 and the 2nd phase will begin on May, 21, 2020. Friday prayers and all congregational prayers will continue to be held in the Grand Mosque, only to be attended by Imams and the employees.
Reassuring the Saudi nation on Monday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “The bad conditions will pass, God willing, and we are heading toward the good, God willing.”