JEDDAH: The Ministry of Interior announced a new list of regulations intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Thursday, introducing fines ranging from SR5,000 ($1,333) to SR100,000 ($26,666). A source at the ministry said the regulations to limit public gatherings had been approved by royal decree.
The new rules prohibit any gathering containing people from than one family who share the same home, or one consisting of five or more people with no residential relationship.
A minimum fine of SR5,000 ($1,333) will be imposed on any person attending or organizing an illegal gathering, but those found to be breaking the rules risk a fine of up to SR10,000 ($2,666) if gathering with family members with whom they do not reside; a fine of SR15,000 ($4,000) for socializing in a residence or public area with non-family members; a SR30,000 ($8,000) fine for events including weddings, funerals, parties and seminars, or at salons and other businesses; and SR50,000 ($13,333) for workers gathering in houses, buildings under construction, rest houses or farms that are not their residences.
The ministry has also instigated a range of fines from SR5,000 ($1,333) up to SR100,000 ($26,666) for any gathering of customers or employees inside or outside commercial establishments that exceeds the numbers stipulated in the precautionary measures.
Repeat offenders will face incremental increases in fines, with private-sector facilities facing three-month closures for their first offense and six-month closures and referral to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution for their second.
Security units have been formed to monitor and implement these regulations, the source said. But members of the public are also urged to report any illegal gatherings using the toll-free number 999 (or 911 in the Makkah region).
The Kingdom recorded a total of 1,793 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday — 25 percent of whom are Saudis and 75 percent expats — bringing the total number of cases recorded to 33,731. There are currently 25,714 people infected with COVID-19, 145 of whom are in critical condition.
Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly, announced 1,015 new recoveries, meaning that 7,798 people have now recovered from COVID-19 in the Kingdom, while 10 new deaths were reported, raising the death toll to 219. The latest fatalities were a Saudi male and nine expats from Madinah, Makkah, Khobar, Riyadh and Jeddah aged between 30 and 78.
Al-Abd Al-Aly also reminded parents not to forget their children’s immunization jabs, encouraging them to use the ministry’s Mawid app to set up appointments. He said medical centers are taking “every precaution” to ensure the safety of all visitors.