Saudi Arabia to relax lockout by May 28. Unveils phased reopening plan

By Backend Office, Desk Reporter
    Representational Image

    Saudi Arabia will start to reduce the COVID-19 lockout and constraints on business activities across the kingdom from May 28. In the first phase that will be launched between May 28 – May 30, the lockout in all parts of Saudi Arabia, except Makkah, will be lifted daily from 6 AM -3 PM.

    Drive between cities and regions within the kingdom by private cars will be allowed during the hours when the lockout is relaxed. The Ministry of Interior added that business activities such as malls as well as wholesale and retail shops will be permitted to reopen outside of the lockout hours.

    However, some trades where physical distancing cannot be fully managed such as beauty salons, barber salons, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remain closed.

    Phase 2 

    In the second phase that will be executed between May 31 – June 20, where the lockout will be eased daily from 6 AM – 8 PM across the country except in Makkah. In Makkah, the lockout will be lifted daily from 6 AM -3 PM in this phase. Prayers, including Friday prayers, in all mosques, will be authorized, except in the city of Makkah.

    Attendance at private and government sector offices will also be allowed during this phase given that they adhere to the careful measures specified by the country’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities.

    Domestic flights will also be permitted to resume. Travel within the kingdom by varied means of transport other than private cars will also be allowed.

    Restaurants and cafes would be reopened as well. However, gatherings of more than 50 people for social purposes such as weddings and funerals will continue to remain suspended.

    Phase 3

    In the third phase which will begin from June 21 onwards, lockouts in all parts of the kingdom except in Makkah will be fully lifted. In Makkah, the curfew will be released daily from 6 AM – 8 PM during this phase.

    The official added that residents would be allowed to walk within their neighborhoods itself during the hours in which the curfew is in effect.

    International flights and Umrah pilgrimage will continue to be suspended.

    Additionally, on June 21, prayers at Makkah’s mosque will be sanctioned too.

    Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, the country’s health minister said the country was able to double the capacity of its laboratories, critical care rooms and ventilators in order to deal with the pandemic which enabled it to control the spread of the disease and plan for the next phase.

    “The return to the normal conditions requires that we all have a high responsibility and attention and follow the health guidelines, especially for the people who are at higher risk of being infected with the virus, including the elderly, people with chronic diseases, people with respiratory diseases and weak immunity, and we ask them to take more care of themselves and ask those around them,” added Dr. Tawfiq.