During preparations to welcome Ramadan, the General Presidency for the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques announced that mass iftar banquets are allowed to be held at the Masjid Al-Haram after a two-year suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The issuance and renewal of permits for providers of the fast-breaking meals at the holy site have also been completed.
The Presidency had also announced that the reintroduction of iftar meals at Masjid Al-Nabawi in Medina had been permitted.
The Two Holy Mosques are expected to welcome large numbers of worshipers during the peak season of Umrah or lesser pilgrimages at the Masjid Al-Haram and visits to the Prophet’s mosque during Ramadan, which will begin early next month this year.
The rules for performing Umrah have been relaxed by Saudi authorities recently following a move by the Kingdom, which has also largely relaxed restrictions against the COVID-19 virus.
Some of the preventive measures that have been revoked include the cancellation of permits to pray at the Masjid Al-Haram and the cancellation of immunization checks for all pilgrims to enter the Two Holy Mosque.
In addition, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah also cancelled the registration of immunization data for Muslims abroad to obtain Umrah permits which were previously mandatory. The obligation to show a negative PCR test to enter the two shrines has also been lifted.
Okaz newspaper reported that both vaccinated and unvaccinated Muslims can now perform Umrah or lesser pilgrimages at the Grand Mosque under certain conditions.
As long as they have not been infected with COVID-19 or have contacted people who have tested positive for the virus, they are now allowed to pray at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque.
Considering the percentage of the virus infections rates have dropped significantly in the Kingdom, the authorities removed most of the anti-coronavirus restrictions earlier this month. It includes removing the physical distance between worshipers in the Two Holy Mosques. However, face masks are still mandatory.
Not only that, but Saudi authorities have also announced the cancellation of mandatory PCR tests and institutional and home quarantine for arrivals in the Kingdom.