Saudi Arabia eases coronavirus restrictions for two weeks: 6 questions answered

A general view shows almost empty streets, during the 24 hours lockdown in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (File photo: Reuters)

Saudi Arabia has partially lifted the curfew restrictions implemented across the Kingdom starting Sunday, but Mecca and previously isolated neighborhoods remain on full lockdown.

Reopening malls and reducing curfew hours does not mean the coronavirus threat has dissipated, and all Saudi nationals and residents must adhere to strict social distancing and precautionary measures, including wearing a face mask while outside, according to the health ministry.

The Kingdom has recorded 1,289 new coronavirus cases on Monday, marking its highest daily increase so far, according to the health ministry.

Here are questions about the new rules answered:

What are the hours during which I’m allowed to leave my home?

People across Saudi Arabia are now allowed to leave their houses from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., unless they are in Mecca or in quarantined neighborhoods in Medina, Jeddah, and the Eastern Province.

Can I go shopping?

Yes, malls will reopen on April 29, including wholesale and retail trade stores. However, all entertainment and play areas will remain closed, and children under 15-years-old will not be allowed to enter.

Shoppers should rely on the use of escalators and stairs for movement between floors, and in the event they are not available, only two people are allowed in elevators at a time.

Can I have Iftar at a restaurant?

No, the new loosened restrictions, which last until May 13, limit meals to those cooked at home or are delivered to your door. The new restrictions expire before Ramadan ends, so it may be possible to eat at a restaurant before the end of the month.

Will I be able to get a haircut or go to the gym?

Specific stores where social distancing is hard or impossible to practice, such as beauty clinics and salons, barber shops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers, cinemas, restaurants, cafes and other activities where authorities determine social distancing cannot be practiced will remain closed.

Can I invite my friends over for iftar?

If there will be five or less people in your home, then yes. Social gatherings of more than five people, including weddings and funerals, are still prohibited in the Kingdom.

Can I reopen my business?

Yes, but you have to abide by the precautionary measures set by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, including holding minimal meetings, constantly sanitizing the offices, and avoiding hand shaking.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:54 - GMT 06:54
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