Saudi Arabia’s residents may be deported if they violate coronavirus rules in shops

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Residents of Saudi Arabia who violate the coronavirus-related precautionary measures and gather in large groups inside or outside shops in the Kingdom will be deported and forbidden from re-entry, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) said on Tuesday.

The MOI said that penalties for shoppers or employees gathering inside or outside commercial shops in numbers higher than the set capacity limits will be as follows:

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First time offenders: An establishment will be fined 5,000 riyals ($1,331) for every extra person present in the facility above the set capacity limit. The maximum fine is 100,000 riyals ($26,619).

Second time offenders: An establishment will be fined 10,000 riyals ($2,662) for every extra person present in the facility above the set capacity limit.

Third time offenders: The fine will be doubled, and the person in charge will be referred to the Public Prosecution.

“In case a private sector establishment repeated the violation for the first time, it will be shut down for three months. If the violation was repeated for a second time, the establishment will be shut down for six months,” the MOI said.

“If a violator is a resident of Saudi Arabia, he will be deported from the Kingdom, and will be forever forbidden from re-entering it after his punishment is carried out,” MOI added.

The security spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, Talal al-Shalhoub, had reiterated on Saturday the importance of maintaining social distancing measures and stressed that large gatherings of more than five people were banned in the Kingdom amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He also reminded the public that anyone who attends a gathering or calls for it or causes it will be considered a violator of the government’s measures and will face fines and penalties.

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 Spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce had said on May 14 that malls and shopping centers in Saudi Arabia will remain open until May 22 (Ramadan 29).

He also warned the public to adhere 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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