Saudi Arabia bans market galas to fight COVID-19

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has tightened measures to prevent crowding blamed for COVID-19 spread including celebrations traditionally held to mark opening of new markets and shops.

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The Ministry of Commerce has announced banning all practices causing crowding inside or outside commercial establishments to “protect society from the coronavirus,” an official said.

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“The ban covers parties held on the occasion of opening shops and markets, or events marking the launch of new products or services,” the ministry’s spokesman Abdulrahman Al Hussein added.

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Other banned practices include in-person commercial competitions, and invitations to celebrities to show up at establishments for promotional purposes.

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The ministry said that commercial establishments will be liable for any violation of the new rules and will face tough penalties that entail closure for six months and prosecution.

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In recent months, Saudi Arabia have introduced restrictions to curb the COVID-19 spread and repeatedly warned against infringing health precautions in place.

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Health authorities so far have confirmed a total of 394,169 virus cases and 6,711 fatalities in the kingdom.

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