King Salman has ordered the partial lifting of the curfew across Saudi Arabia, with the exception of the holy city of Makkah and adjacent places previously isolated after a COVID-19 outbreak.
A royal decree carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) early Sunday said the curfew is off from 9 o’clock in the morning to 5 o’clock in the afternoon, from April 26, 2020 to May 13, 2020.
Makkah and its neighborhood shall remain under 24-hour curfew, the decree said.
The new order was based on recommendations of relevant health authorities to enable the return of some economic activities and to relieve citizens and residents..
Allowed to reopen starting 6 Ramadan 1441 AH (April 29 in the Gregorian calendar) until 20 Ramadan 1441 AH (May 13, 2020) are wholesale and retail trade stores, as well as commercial centers or malls.
Construction companies and factories are also allowed to resume their activities “without restrictions on time, according to the nature of their business.”
Not allowed to open are centers “that do not achieve physical distance, including: beauty clinics, barber salons, sports and health clubs, recreational centers, cinemas, beauty salons, restaurants, cafes and other activities determined by the competent authorities.”
The decree instructed authorities responsible for monitoring economic, commercial and industrial activities to ensure that the precautionary and preventive measures approved by the Ministry of Health and other competent authorities are complied with.
Law enforcers are also instructed to ensure that “social distancing” is observed at all times, and that social gatherings involving more than five people, such as wedding events and parties shall remain disallowed.
The decree reminded the public that the prescribed penalties will be imposed on violators and facilities that violate the regulations and instructions will be closed according to established procedures.
Since COVID-19 was first discovered in Wuhan, China late last year, Saudi Arabia has reported 16,299 COVID-19 cases, including 136 deaths. Some 2,214 patients were reported to have recovered so far.
Worldwide, the number of cases neared 2.8 millions cases and the number of deaths passed the 200,000 mark, with the US accounting for over 53,000, or more than 25 percent of the total.