The Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, was operating at full capacity on Sunday (17/10). Congregants perform prayers close together without keeping their distance, the first time this has been done since the corona virus pandemic began.
Workers removed distance-keeping stickers on the mosque floor made to guide people to maintain social distance in and around the Grand Mosque.
“This is in line with the (government’s) decision to relax precautionary measures and allow the congregation of the Grand Mosque to be at full capacity,” it said. AFP, citing the official news agency Saudi Press Agency.
Pictures and footage taken on Sunday (17/10) morning show worshipers praying in close proximity, the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic took place last year.
While social distancing measures were lifted, authorities said worshipers of the Grand Mosque should have been vaccinated against COVID-19 and should continue to wear masks in mosque grounds.
But the Kaaba remains closed.
Saudi Arabia announced in August that it would start accepting vaccinated foreign pilgrims for the pilgrimage. [ah]