MAKKAH: Amid an emotional atmosphere filled with joy and tears, worshipers and Umrah pilgrims returned to the courtyards of the Grand Mosque in Makkah after Saudi authorities announced the lifting of COVID-19 precautionary measures and the return to normalcy in the Kingdom.
The General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque has reactivated its operational plans for full-capacity worship, with its field teams removing social distancing stickers. Worshipers stood shoulder-to-shoulder in spiritual scenes after the end of social distancing measures for prayers and tawaf.
These preparations by the General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque come ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, with the presidency set to outline operational plans for the religious occasion.
On the eve of the lifting of the precautionary measures, Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, general president of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, confirmed that the presidency will develop new plans that will improve the service for visitors to the Two Holy Mosques and Umrah pilgrims.
The spokesman for the General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque, Hani bin Hosni Haidar, told Arab News that the presidency’s operational plan will apply at the Two Holy Mosques for the coming Ramadan season.
The plan will be announced on March 21 in a press conference in the presence of the General President Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, in which he will address the most prominent features of the operational plan.
Haidar added that all the procedures and services that were suspended during the pandemic have returned to normal, including lifting posters and canceling social distancing between worshippers.
In addition, Zamzam water containers will be put back throughout the Two Holy Mosques, the services of electric vehicles and manual wheelchairs will resume, and the doors of the Two Holy Mosques have flung open to receive visitors in full capacity.
Haidar said that lectures have resumed, adding that a schedule will be published on the presidency’s website.
Haider stressed the need for visitors to cooperate with the presidency’s workers by following the procedures in place during their travel to the Grand Mosque for prayers or performing Umrah.
He added that visitors will still need to wear face masks.