The kingdom has unveiled a multi-stage plan that it says will eventually see the country return to 'normalcy'
Saudi Arabia will begin easing lockdown measures as it moves to the next phase of its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in the kingdom, officials said on Monday.
According to Dr. Tawfiq Al Rabiah said that, going forward, Saudi Arabia will expand mass testing to detect cases early, as well as expand hospitality capacity for cases that require critical care.
In his remarks, Dr. Al Rabiah said that the strategy “requires a high degree of responsibility and attention on the part of us all, and the need to follow health guidelines.”
“The early measures taken by the kingdom helped us take control on the pandemic,” he added. “People have shown a tremendous sense of responsibility in practicing social distancing.”
According to local media reports, the first stage of the easing of restrictions – which will take place from Thursday to May 31 – will see movement allowed between 6am and 3pm in all areas with the exception of Makkah.
Commercial activity will be allowed to resume in retail and wholesale shops, as well as malls, albeit with social distancing measures in place. Places in which that isn’t possible – such as in cinemas and beauty salons – will remain closed.
In the second stage, which will run through June 20, movement will be allowed between 6am and 8pm in all areas of the kingdom in Makkah, with Friday and congregational prayers allowed.
The suspension of workplace attendance will also be lifted, provided that companies follow precautionary guidelines. Restaurants and cafes will also be allowed to serve food, while beauty salons, barber shops, sports clubs and other venues will have to remain closed.
Additionally, domestic flights will be allowed to operate again, as will travel between various parts of the kingdom.
In the third stage of the easing of restrictions, which will begin on June 21, the kingdom will see a return to ‘normalcy’ and pre-coronavirus conditions, except in Makkah. Social distancing measures, however, will continue.
Makkah is subject to a separate timeline, with the second stage of the process beginning on June 21,
International flights and Umrah pilgrimages remain suspended.