Thank you for your reading and interest in the news Life returns to Saudi Arabia as lockdown lifts and now with details
Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Saudis flocked to hairdressers, barbers and shops on Sunday as coronavirus lockdown measures were lifted across the kingdom.
Workers returned to offices and mosques, cafes, restaurants, movie theatres and gyms reopened after over three months of coronavirus mitigation measures including nightly lockdowns.
Roads in Jeddah that had been eerily quiet sprang to life from 6am, with people venturing out of their homes for shopping.
Cafes and restaurants in the city's popular Tahlia Street were full to capacity, with tables are set apart farther than normal, but often not the full proscribed 1.5 metres.
Waiters wore masks and gloves, offering hand sanitiser to customers and checking their temperatures.
Now, as life begins the slow journey back to normal in Saudi Arabia, gyms and health clubs are ramping up operations, touting their adherence to local and government safety protocols and welcoming fitness enthusiasts.
Hundreds of people flocked to the neighbourhood barber shops in to trim their long locks or get a shave after waiting more than 74 days under coronavirus lockdown measures.
"The rush of customers was so much on the first day of reopening the shop on early Sunday, Turkish hairstylist Hussain Jovalan told The National at his busy salon in the city’s Salama district.
“We sent many of them away and told others to try their luck in another salon or make an appointment for other day rather than waiting for their turn here.”
Mr Jovalan said barbers has missed their busiest periods of Ramadan and Eid, so were glad customers were returning.
With tough restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus came into force in March, including 24-hour curfews in most towns and cities, citizens and residents in all parts of the Kingdom expressed relief but they are doing so in careful and cautious way.
In Makkah, owner of popular food truck Luqma Basha, Abdullah Hajoori, said his and other businesses were working hard to ensure hygiene requirements were met.
“Thank God, I feel happy. Past times were difficult as opposed to now,” he told The National from his truck, parked in front of the Al Hijza Mall in Al Nuzhah.
“I hope caution will be practised in the next stage… The truck is sterilised periodically or every hour while adhering to the necessary measures of hygiene.”
Makkah was the only Saudi province to be kept in 24-hour lockdown throughout Ramadan, and has remained under a nightly lockdown since Eid, again from 3pm to 6am.
Kamal Abdulqader, a renowned Saudi writer urged the public to do their part too.
“People need to take a step back and look at the position we’re in, and to recognise that the release from lockdown comes with responsibilities for all of us in the way that we choose to behave,” he said.
“The virus is still threatening our lives. Therefore I hope people to comply with the governments guidance or we could face another lockdown.”
Up to 75 per cent of the kingdom’s public sector employees were eligible to return to their offices from Sunday, but are still concerned about the health implications and getting used to a corporate office culture again after the lockdown.
“Still, worries over hygiene will continue to top concerns as employees return to the workplace,” said Bandar Al Musalem, a government employee in Riyadh. “Luckily the government minimised the number of staff.”
Saudi Arabia announced 3,379 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, taking the total number of cases to 157,612. Over 1,200 people have died from the disease in the kingdom.
Updated: June 21, 2020 08:05 PM
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