After more than a year and a half, Saudi Arabia has announced that the Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Nabawi will be reopened as usual without any restrictions from October 17.
According to the Saudi Gazette, people who have received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine will be allowed to enter the Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Nabawi from October 17 and will be allowed according to their full capacity, along with other restrictions across the country.
Also read: Saudi Arabia Suspends Flight Operations to and from Pakistan
The Saudi Press Agency reported that the Custodians of the Two Holy Mosques approved the decisions and the Interior Ministry announced it.
The report said that all worshipers and pilgrims who have been vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine will be allowed to visit holy places in Makkah and Madinah while wearing masks and using the Umrah taking app.
Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry said in a statement that the country would further relax its covid-19 restrictions from Sunday and that vaccinators would be exempted from wearing masks in certain places.
Saudi Arabia has announced that the holy sites will be fully open to the public after about 19 months.
It may be recalled that in March 2020, Saudi Arabia had initially announced a daily closure of the Masjid al-Haram in Makkah and the Masjid al-Nabawi in Madinah from one hour after the Isha prayer to one hour before the Fajr prayer.
Later, on March 21, Saudi officials closed the doors of other mosques, including the Prophet’s Mosque, to normal worshipers due to the coronavirus, taking steps to reduce the number of mosques during Friday and five-hour prayers.
It was reported that,
“For the first time in 40 years, Umrah has been stopped, all mosques in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries have been completely closed for prayers.”
A statement from the administration of the shrine said on social networking site Twitter:
“The doors of the Prophet’s Mosque have been closed to worshipers following fresh orders from the authorities, but a small number of worshipers have been allowed to enter the compound with their permission.”
The Saudi government announced in 2020 that it would suspend the Iʿtikāf of Ramadan in the Masjid al-Haram and Masjid al-Nabawi.
The government announced a phased opening of the Masjid al-Nabawi to the public on May 30, 2020, but the number was limited. Earlier, the Saudi government also banned Umrah Visa from Pakistan in 2020.