COVID-19: Malls in Saudi Arabia face shutdown if crowding persists

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has warned malls that they face shutdown if they fail to heed a limit on allowing shoppers in as part of efforts to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in the kingdom.

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“Allowing extra numbers of shoppers will make the malls liable to closure and enforcement of disciplinary penalties,” said spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce Abdulrahman Al Hussein.

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He tweeted that over recent days, crowding has been seen at some malls. “The ministry stresses the necessity of heeding the shopping capacity limit and prohibiting the entry of exceeding numbers of shoppers.”

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The official warned that the ministry’s inspection teams will enforce penalties including immediate shutdowns of violating malls.

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Health rules oblige shopping centres in Saudi Arabia to take the temperatures of their shoppers and employees as well as making sterilisers, face masks and gloves available, ensuring observance of social distancing, and posting liaison officers to regulate shoppers.

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Inspection campaigns

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They also include placing distancing signs on floors in front of stores and intensifying disinfection of frequently touched places such as door handles, escalators and elevators as well as posting awareness signs about precautions.

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In recent months, Saudi authorities have stepped up inspection campaigns of different facilities nationwide to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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The kingdom so far has confirmed a total of 387,794 virus cases and 6,643 fatalities.

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