RIYADH: The Saudi government announced Monday evening that the ongoing curfew has been extended in nine additional parts of the Kingdom.
Following the announcement of a 24-hour curfew in Makkah and Madinah on Thursday, the Saudi Press Agency announced that Riyadh, Tabuk, Dammam, Dhahrah, Al-Hofuf, Jeddah, Al-Qatif, Taif, and Khobar would all be joining the holy cities in a 24-hour lockdown.
With many concerned about food, groceries and family members in other neighborhoods and cities, here are some of your most pressing questions regarding the curfew answered.
Why is there a curfew?
The Ministry of Interior implemented the curfew in line with the recommendations of the Kingdom’s health authorities in order to preserve the health and safety of citizens and residents.
Am I allowed to leave my house at all?
Citizens are allowed to leave their houses only in cases of “extreme necessity,” such as medical emergencies.
How am I supposed to get groceries?
Citizens are strongly urged to have their groceries delivered to them via an app or other delivery service. However, if necessary, you can leave the house to go shopping, but only inside your own neighborhood within the original curfew hours (6 a.m. to 3 p.m.).
The ministry has implemented a two person per car rule, meaning that in addition to the driver, only one person can be in a car at all times, even within your own neighborhood.
What about other deliveries/goods and services?
Delivery services will be available via smartphone applications during the curfew for food and medicine needs, as well as other essential goods and services that are excluded. Specific exclusions can be known by calling the toll-free number in all regions of the Kingdom (999), except for in Makkah where it is 911.
Which stores will still be open during the curfew?
According to the list provided by the ministry, the following will still be open:
Pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations, cooking gas stores, banking services, repair shops, plumber shops, electricians’ shops, air conditioning repair, water delivery services, and septic tank disposal services.
Are there any exceptions to the curfew?
According to the Ministry of Interior, the curfew does not include employees of “vital sectors,”, i.e. the health sector, public health sector, some food and grocery delivery services, pharmacy delivery services, and similar vital services.
Muezzins will be allowed to access mosques to lift the call to prayer during curfew, and workers in diplomatic missions and international organizations residing in the Diplomatic Quarter will be allowed to move during the curfew period to and from their business headquarters in the neighborhood.
Can I travel in or out of any of the above cities?
All travel in or out of any of the above is not allowed.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Stay at home. Wash your hands. Do not let yourself become overwhelmed with despair. The more of us who can do our part by staying at home, the faster this crisis should go by.
Can I get restaurant delivery during the curfew?
Restaurant delivery is still available via any of the food delivery apps (e.g. HungerStation, Talabat), but bear in mind that demand is very high at the moment and it might take a long time for an order to be accepted/delivered. Making food at home is encouraged.