Warning Alert

Authorities in Iran close public institutions in Tehran from Oct. 3 - Oct. 9 due to coronavirus activity. Other restrictions in effect. 

Alert Begins 03 Oct 2020 08:32 PM UTC
Alert Expires 31 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC


  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide
  • Start Time/Date: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, increased security


Iranian authorities closed public institutions in Tehran from Oct. 3 – Oct. 9 as part of the country’s efforts to combat a recent surge in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The closure includes schools, places of worship, libraries, museums, theaters, gyms, cafes, reception halls, zoos, swimming pools, and hair salons. All social gatherings, including Friday prayers, are prohibited in Tehran for the duration of the measure. Authorities also announced that they plan to increase enforcement of health protocols, such as mandatory protective face coverings in public. Individuals who violate the mask mandate may be subject to fines. Businesses that violate health protocols may face closure.

Authorities have banned all large gatherings nationwide, including weddings and funeral wakes, in efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Ministry of Health has divided the country into "white," "yellow," and "red" zones depending on the COVID-19 fatality rate and extent of the outbreak, with white being the lowest threat. Zones with more than three COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population are categorized as red, while white zones have less than one. As of Oct. 3, authorities had classified 26 of the country's 31 provinces as red.

Authorities previously eased the following COVID-19-related restrictions:


  • Kindergartens and tourist sites reopened June 13.
  • Universities reopened nationwide June 6.
  • Restaurants and cafes reopened nationwide May 26. Restaurants can accept customers but must continue to abide by safe distancing protocols.
  • Religious shrines reopened May 25. Shrines are allowed to open for three hours in the morning and three hours in the evening. Worshipers must adhere to strict social distancing regulations and must wear protective facemasks and gloves.
  • Museums and historical sites reopened May 24.
  • Schools reopened May 16.
  • Mosques reopened nationwide May 8.
  • Officials lifted the ban on intercity travel April 20.
  • Shopping malls and bazaars reopened April 20.
  • Government offices resumed work April 11.

Iranian authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.


Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Iran correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.


Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all business appointments and travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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