JEDDAH: Violations of a nationwide curfew will not be tolerated as the Kingdom goes on a complete lockdown from 5 p.m. on May 22 until the fourth day of Eid on May 27, the Saudi Interior Ministry said on Friday.
“Patrol cars will be stationed to monitor districts, rest houses, and other general facilities, as well as villages to regulate any curfew or social gathering violations,” said Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, the ministry’s security spokesman.
He added that individuals with curfew permits could still carry out their work, unless the ministry or an official source announced otherwise. Any person violating the curfew will be fined SR10,000 ($2,666), while reported gatherings of over five people with no familial or household ties will be fined SR5,000 per person.
The spokesman also revealed that Riyadh was the city with the most curfew violations, but that did not indicate any lenience or negligence on the authorities’ part.
He reminded those who were penalized for violating the measures that they had a month to object to the penalty if there were any mix-ups, or to address the reason behind the violation.
Al-Shalhoub said that only those with exceptional cases could be granted individual access to move from one city to another. He said that it was up to the ministry to approve their applications online.
The Ministry of Commerce and Investment announced that economic and commercial activities would continue during the total lockdown in 20 different facilities, including factories, labs, hypermarkets, restaurants, petrol stations, car wash and mechanic services, farmers markets, butcher shops, food storehouses and facilities, the entire medical sector from pharmacies to public hospitals, plumbing, electrical and carpentry services.
“Restaurants will be able to deliver during lockdown through their fleet or delivery apps, with the exception of food trucks and banquet kitchens,” said the ministry’s spokesman Abdulrahman Al-Hussein. “Citizens and residents will be able to go grocery shopping during a four-hour window per week by applying for a permit on the Tawakalna app.”
There had been an 80 percent decline in shops increasing their prices since the beginning of Ramadan, he said. Since March 23, when the initial curfew regulations were implemented, 215,000 supervisory tours were made and 14,000 violations recorded.
Fifty-five percent of these violations were price increases and that figure had gone down to 35 percent on Friday, Al-Hussein added. He attributed the decline to citizens and residents reporting these violations, and the ministry’s trips.
The ministry has also received 100,000 complaints about online retailers since the beginning of 2020. “The main complaint was the delay in delivery,” said the spokesman. “Each consumer has the right to cancel and request a refund if goods are delayed for over 15 days as per the bylaws of electronic trade.”
Meanwhile the Ministry of Health spokesman, Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly, reminded people of the importance of social distancing as summer approaches. He advised against dipping into swimming pools at the current time and to comply with preventive measures.
Saudi Arabia recorded a total of 2,642 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, 38 percent of them were Saudis, bringing the total number of cases in the Kingdom to 67,719. There are now 28,352 active cases, 302 of whom are in critical condition.
Al-Abd Al-Aly announced that 2,963 people have recovered, taking the total number of recoveries to 39,003. The death toll is 364 following 13 new fatalities.
Of these deaths 12 were expats aged 31 to 74, most of them suffering from chronic diseases.