RIYADH: The Saudi Ministry of Commerce has ramped up health and safety inspections to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the Kingdom.
The ministry’s teams carried out more than 96,000 inspections of commercial centers and facilities, identifying 962 violations.
It said that it would continue inspection tours, following up on mandatory rules which require visitors and employees to wear face masks in open and closed areas and respect a 1.5-meter social distancing rule.
Commercial establishments must also refuse entry to unvaccinated people.
The ministry said that establishments must place the code for automatic health verification permits at entrances and that staff are responsible for ensuring that customers scan an entry barcode.
It warned that stores that fail to apply precautionary measures will be subject to a SR100,000 ($26,633) fine.
The penalty will be doubled and the business forced to close if a violation is repeated, the authority added.
From Thursday, Saudi Arabia reimposed mandatory face mask and social distancing rules in all closed and open places, including during events and activities.
The Interior Ministry said the the decision was made by the country’s health authorities due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and the occurrence of new variants.
The Saudi public has been urged to follow the new protocols in order to avoid facing legal penalties. More than 285 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported worldwide since the outbreak of the pandemic and more than 5.44 million people have died after contracting the disease.