On Friday, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced that Saudi Arabia would begin easing COVID-19 restrictions in response to the sharp decline in daily infections and the sizable progress in vaccinations in the country.
The ministry added that the government would lift social distancing measures and allow the two holy mosques in Makkah and Madinah to host pilgrims at total capacity starting on October 17, 2021. Those who are allowed to perform prayers in the holy mosque have received the full dose of the vaccine.
Worshipers and pilgrims who have received both vaccine doses can visit the Grand Mosque in Makkah and Medina while wearing masks and using the Umrah tracking app.
Starting on Sunday, the authorities will cancel social distancing regulations on fully vaccinated people at closed venues, gatherings, transportation, restaurants, and cinemas.
In a statement to the Saudi Press Agency, the ministry said that masks are no longer mandatory in open spaces. However, public members must still wear them in closed venues and areas that are not monitored by the Tawakkalna app.
Our World in Data shows that the equivalent of 67 percent of the population in Saudi Arabia has now been vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a circular issued on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation has also stated that holders of work visas and residence permits can directly visit the country under the new guidelines.
It is written that all airlines must ensure proof of a confirmed booking at one of the airline’s approved passenger quarantine facilities. It added that passengers are also required to show the QR Code before boarding the plane.
As per the notification, all airlines must verify passenger registration on the arrival platform. If it complies with the requirements, the passenger will be exempted from institutional quarantine, while the violators will be penalized.