Local inspectors keep an eye out in a popular market in Mecca. Image Credit: Photo courtesy of The Saudi news agency SPA

Cairo: Local authorities in the Saudi holy city of Mecca have closed down a popular market after shoppers failed to observe precautions against COVID-19, local media reported.

Municipal inspectors supported by police as well as health and trade officials were seen touring Al Utaibia Market in Mecca before the closure order. The shutdown comes days ahead of Eid Al Fitr, a peak shopping season.

Mecca authorities said they will continue inspection tours of the city’s markets, shopping centres and food outlets to ensure compliance with health regulations as the kingdom is seeking to stem the spread of COVID-19.

In recent months, Saudi authorities have stepped up inspection tours of commercial establishments nationwide, resulting in dozens of shutdowns due to violation of COVID-19 rules.

Shopping centres warned

Authorities have repeatedly warned shopping centres that they face shutdowns if they fail to heed a limit on their shoppers as part of anti-virus precautions.

Health rules oblige shopping centres in Saudi Arabia to take the temperatures of their customers and employees as well as making sterilisers, face masks and gloves available, ensuring observance of social distancing, and assigning liaison officers to regulate shoppers.

They also include placing distancing signs on floors in front of stores and intensifying disinfection of frequently touched objects such as door handles, escalators and elevators as well as posting awareness signs about precautions.