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Saudi Arabia to ease some restrictions this week, the rest in June

By
Don Jacobson
A man sits in front of a closed shop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on March 24. The Saudi government said Tuesday it expects to lift all lockdown measures on June 21. File Photo by Ali Ahmad/EPA-EFE
A man sits in front of a closed shop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on March 24. The Saudi government said Tuesday it expects to lift all lockdown measures on June 21. File Photo by Ali Ahmad/EPA-EFE

May 26 (UPI) -- Officials in Saudi Arabia said Tuesday they will relax coronavirus-related curfews and other restrictions for most of the country this week and they will be fully lifted nationwide next month.

The Saudi Interior Ministry said on Friday a round-the-clock curfew will change to between 3 p.m and 6 a.m., and bans on domestic travel, prayers in mosques and workplace attendance will be lifted.

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The changes do not apply to the holy city of Mecca, which will remain under 24-hour curfew and the ban on mosque attendance will be in place until June 21, in effect suspending the annual Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.

Gatherings of more than 50 people will be banned until June 21 and beauty salons, barber shops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas will remained closed.

Indoor seating in restaurants and cafes, however, will be allowed under proper social distancing guidelines.

A second phase will begin on June 21 when Saudi officials said they expect to lift the lockdown entirely and return to normal life.

Interior Ministry officials, however, urged all Saudi citizens to remain on guard against transmission of COVID-19 through distancing, wearing masks and washing their hands.

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The coronavirus pandemic prompted Saudi Arabia last month to close mosques in Mecca and Medina for the holy month of Ramadan, which ended Saturday.

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Devotees pray in the Al-Abrar mosque. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

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