Saudi Arabia bans eating at restaurants during Ramadan


No iftar (breaking fast) or suhoor buffets (pre-dawn meal) will be allowed in restaurants and hotels during the holy month of Ramadan and there will not be public iftar in mosques also.

The move comes after recommendations were made in this regard by the concerned authorities as part of precautionary measures and preventive protocols to curb the spread of coronavirus during Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr holidays.

As many as six ministries — interior, health, municipal and rural affairs and housing, Islamic affairs, tourism, and media — have approved the Ramadan and Eid coronavirus preventive plan, a copy of which was obtained by Okaz/Saudi Gazette.

As part of the plan, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Ministry of Tourism will forbid holding iftar buffets and suhoor in restaurants and hotels. Monitoring campaigns will be beefed up in parks and unlicensed playgrounds within the urban areas. There will be a limit for the number of people who are allowed to gather in large parks with setting up of entrances and exits for monitoring while small parks will be closed.

The ministries approved another recommendation to extend the working hours of malls and shopping centers to 24 hours amid an intensified supervision and verification of their compliance with preventive requirements. There will be an updating of protocols for the mechanism for restaurants’ packaging and delivery of takeaway orders with arranging a drive-through delivery system to avoid any congestion that may occur while waiting before the iftar time.

They also underlined the need for the Ministry of Media to participate in preparing and disseminating awareness messages calling on people to adhere to regulations and precautions that ensure the safety of all. The recommendations stipulated the role of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in preventing i’tikaf and holding public iftar and suhoor inside mosques and their premises. The ministry will also expand the places for Eid prayers by arranging more mosques and prayer areas.


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