Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia shuts down 32 businesses for violating COVID-19 measures

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Saudi Arabian authorities have shut down 32 businesses for violating measures put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Wednesday.

The Kingdom has begun exiting the lockdown measures it imposed in March, when the global coronavirus pandemic reached its borders. Under phase two of the Kingdom's exit strategy, which began on May 31, restaurants and cafes can open, provided they follow strict precautionary measures set by the Ministry of Health. Likewise, malls and shops are allowed to open as long as they allow customers and employees to practice social distancing.

Read more: Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia sets guidelines for malls, industrial sector, as it reopens

However, on Wednesday the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs investigated food outlets and markets - and found as many as 2,256 outlets were violating procedures, according to SPA.

Of this number, 434 violations were related to coronavirus health measures. A further 1,012 were violations of the designated opening hours.

The Kingdom currently has a curfew in place between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Saudi authorities aim to return to “normalcy” in all areas of the Kingdom, except Mecca, by June 21. Social distancing rules will remain in place.

On Wednesday, the total number of cases in the country rose above 90,000.

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