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Saudi Arabia: No social distancing, no outdoor face-masks, full capacity in public places

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Riyadh – Saudi Arabia announced on Friday to cancel the social distancing and outdoor face-masks, and to permit full capacity in public places including the two grand mosques. The new rule will be applicable from Sunday that is Oct 17.

Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported the details of the new announcement.

First: Wearing masks is no longer obligatory in open places – except for the excluded places – while continuing to be mandatory to be worn in closed areas.

Second: The precautionary measures for those who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are eased as follows:

1- Allowing full capacity attendance at the Grand Holy Mosque, with obligating workers and visitors to wear a mask at all times in the mosque, yet maintaining the use of the “Eatmarna” or “Tawakkalna” apps for obtaining a permit to perform Umrah and prayer to control the number of worshippers at the same time.

2- Allowing full capacity attendance at the Prophet’s Holy Mosque, with obligating workers and visitors to wear a mask at all times in the mosque, yet maintaining the use of the “Eatmarna” or “Tawakkalna” apps for obtaining a permit to pray or visit Al Rawdah and limit the number of attendance at the same time.

3- Canceling social distancing and allowing the use of full capacity in gatherings, public places, means of transportation, restaurants, and cinemas.

4- The number of attendants of events in wedding halls will not be restricted, however, the application of precautionary measures is emphasized due to the seriousness of the behaviors associated with such events.

Third: Two-doses of immunization is required to enter all sites and activities referred to in the aforementioned, except for those who are excluded as per the Tawakkalna app, yet abidance by the relevant precautionary measures and wearing masks is mandatory for all.

Fourth: Social distancing and wearing masks will continue to be applied in facilities where health status checks are not applied through the Tawakkalna app.

Fifth: The Public Health Authority (Weqaya) will prepare the preventive measures that must be adhered to for all activities mentioned (Second).

Sixth: The public and private sectors are to check the status of immunization in the “Tawakkalna” application for all those who wish to enter any facility, and to follow up on compliance with the precautionary and preventive measures taken by the concerned authorities to confront the pandemic, including wearing a mask.

Seventh: The relevant authorities implement the penalties prescribed for violators of the precautionary and preventive measures taken by the concerned authorities to confront the pandemic.

Eighth: The Ministry of Health will continue following up on the number of hospitalized Covid-19 cases, especially in intensive care units, and decide accordingly whenever there is a need to tighten precautionary measures at the level of cities, governorates, or regions.

Kingdom reiterated that these new instructions are subject to periodic review as per local and international developments.

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