First stage of re­sumed ser­vices al­low pil­grims three hours to per­form Um­rah

Grad­ual restora­tion might help mit­i­gate fi­nan­cial dam­age, says ex­pert

Arab News - - News Saudi Arabia - Tareq Al-Thaqafi Makkah

Each pil­grim will be given three hours to per­form Um­rah, start­ing and end­ing in the triage ar­eas around Makkah, dur­ing the first stage of the re­sump­tion of Um­rah ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to Arab News sources.

The first stage is sched­uled to start on Oct. 4 and will be op­er­ated through the I’tamarna app.

The plan is to have triage ar­eas around the holy city, al­low­ing 6,000 pil­grims to per­form Um­rah each day at six dif­fer­ent times, with each group of 1,000 pil­grims be­ing given three hours.

Ahmed Ba­jaif­fer, an in­vestor in Um­rah com­pa­nies, said that the

Saudi gov­ern­ment had de­cided to re­sume Um­rah ser­vices af­ter their sus­pen­sion due to the coro­n­avirus pan­demic “as it be­lieves that Mus­lims should not stop per­form­ing pil­grim­age, while re­spect­ing the pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures.”

The first stage will al­low Um­rah for Saudis and ex­pats re­sid­ing in the King­dom, be­fore ex­pand­ing to a big­ger ca­pac­ity in the next stages to al­low pil­grims from out­side Saudi Ara­bia.

Ba­jaif­fer said that a fo­rum held re­cently dis­cussed a 30 per­cent ca­pac­ity in the first stage. “Per­for­mance will be as­sessed by rel­e­vant au­thor­i­ties be­fore al­low­ing a fur­ther ex­pan­sion to a 75 per­cent ca­pac­ity in the sec­ond phase, and full ca­pac­ity in the third phase to re­ceive pil­grims from out­side the King­dom.”

Ahmed Saleh Hal­abi, a jour­nal­ist and writer spe­cial­iz­ing in Hajj and Um­rah ser­vices, said the de­ci­sion to re­store Um­rah stresses the Saudi lead­er­ship’s con­cern to help peo­ple per­form Um­rah safely and se­curely, in line with the pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sures.

“The grad­ual restora­tion of Um­rah might help mit­i­gate the fi­nan­cial dam­age to the Um­rah com­pa­nies and in­sti­tu­tions,” he told Arab News.

Hal­abi quoted the min­is­ter of Hajj and Um­rah say­ing “there are more than 30 lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies that can han­dle the Um­rah ser­vices pro­vided for pil­grims,” and he hoped that this will not cause new fi­nan­cial losses to the com­pa­nies pro­vid­ing Um­rah ser­vices.

File photo

The first stage will al­low Um­rah for Saudis and ex­pats re­sid­ing in KSA, be­fore ex­pand­ing to a big­ger ca­pac­ity in the next stages to al­low pil­grims from out­side.

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