Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia’s malls to remain open until May 22, says commerce ministry

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Malls and shopping centers in Saudi Arabia will remain open until May 22 (Ramadan 29), said Commerce Ministry Spokesman Abdulrahman al-Hussain on Thursday.

The spokesman listed four coronavirus-related precautionary measures the public must follow while shopping: Wearing a face mask at all times, sanitizing hands before and after using shopping carts or other shop amenities, shopping alone or with one other person only while adhering to the ban of the entry of children under the age of 15 and the ban of shopping in groups, and social distancing.

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Saudi Arabia had shut down all malls across the Kingdom on March 15 as part of the government’s measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

However, on April 25, during the early days of the Holy month of Ramadan, King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered partially easing the coronavirus restrictions implemented by the government.

Malls, shopping centers, and retail stores were allowed to re-open given they follow strict preventative health measures including social distancing and hygiene precautions.

The Kingdom had also revised on April 21 its coronavirus curfew timings for the holy month of Ramadan, allowing residents in all areas and cities not currently under a 24-horu lockdown to go out between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

However, areas under a complete lockdown will only be allowed to go out for essential needs, such as grocery shopping or medical visits, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Residents in these areas must stay within their neighborhoods

A 24-hour lockdown was previously imposed on the cities of Riyadh, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahran, and Hofuf and throughout the governorates of Jeddah, Taif, Qatif, and Khobar.

The government had imposed a full lockdown on the holy cities of Mecca and Medina as well. Other cities and governorates had a curfew implemented from 3 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily.

The Kingdom announced on Tuesday that it will impose a 24-hour lockdown and curfew across the Kingdom during Eid holidays from May 23 until May 27.

There are 46,869 confirmed coronavirus cases, 19,051 recovered patients and 283 fatalities in Saudi Arabia as of Thursday, according to the Ministry of Health.

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