MAKKAH — Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah unveiled protocols for the accommodation of foreign pilgrims who start arriving from Sunday, Nov. 1, during the third phase of the gradual resumption of Umrah service.
Muhammad Al-Qurashi, member of the national committee for Hajj and Umrah, said that there are more than 1,800 hotels and over 250,000 housing units in Makkah and these include furnished rooms and apartments.
The hotels ranging from three to five stars must apply the highest standards of precautionary measures and preventive protocols to stem the spread of coronavirus during the stay of the pilgrims. “With the start of the third phase on Sunday, around 30-40 percent of hotels in the central Haram region and hotels near the Grand Mosque will be operational,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ministry revealed details of protocols related to offering services to pilgrims during their stay in the holy city. According to the regulations, the accommodation shall be in the licensed residential buildings and hotels in the categories of 3, 4, and 5 stars that fulfill all the requirements and standards.
The ministry stipulated that the room rent announced on the marketing platforms must include three meals daily, according to the quantitative and qualitative classification and the health requirements for the compulsory three-day medical isolation period for each pilgrim immediately after their arrival in Makkah. There should be one employee tasked with receiving and completing the housing procedures of each group of pilgrims in the hotel.
The exact figure of pilgrims who are given accommodation must be updated on the electronic path and 10 percent of rooms shall be set aside for medical isolation of any suspected cases until the health affairs directorate completes the necessary procedures.
The workers must be trained about precautionary measures and preventive protocols. The number of individuals should not exceed two per room, with the application of physical distancing of at least 1.5 meters between the family members.
It is to be ensured that pilgrims and visitors do not leave their accommodation before the end of the three-day medical isolation period and they will be provided with all the necessary facilities and services during the period. There should be supervisors and security guards in each hotel to organize the exit of pilgrims and visitors.
There is a ban on open buffets while serving food, in addition to the application of all the restaurant protocols. Pilgrims and visitors have to comply with the Eatmarna app schedule for their departure in groups from their accommodation to the Grand Mosque for the performance of Umrah or obligatory prayers, the ministry said in the regulations.