On Sunday, the Grand Mosque in Makkah witnessed the first prayer held without social separation since the outbreak of the Corona virus approximately a year and a half ago, when the Kingdom began to relax its anti-epidemic efforts.
Official media released video evidence of the process of removing the distance stickers within the mosque’s hallways, courtyards, and amenities before attendees lined up shoulder to shoulder to say the Morning Prayer.
Saudi Arabia closed the mosque in March 2020, reopened it to pilgrims in July, and then allowed all Muslims to pray after three months, all while adhering to strict regulations.
Saudi Arabia shuttered the mosque in March 2020, but reopened it to pilgrims in July after following tight protocols, before allowing all Muslims to attend there after three months, although with a limited capacity and distance during services.
On Sunday, the mosque, which incorporates the Kaaba, the Muslim Qiblah, reopened to accept worshipers at full capacity and without any separation, but the mask is still required. Also, like before the plague, touching the Kaaba in the midst of the mosque’s courtyard is still banned.
Throughout the year, millions of Muslims visit the mosque to worship and conduct the Umrah, which was temporarily halted last year.
Saudi Arabia held two unusual pilgrimage seasons, with numbers confined to a few thousand in 2020 and then rising to tens of thousands this year, only for those who were immune to the illness.
Saudi Arabia also agreed to reduce the steps to battle the virus, beginning on Sunday, with a drop in the daily infection rate, as well as the non-mandatory wearing of the face mask in public areas and the reopening of sports stadiums to full capacity for spectators inoculated against the virus.
Since the virus’s inception, the Kingdom has reported around 547,000 infections, with 8,760 fatalities.