Informational Alert

Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to occur July 28 - Aug. 2. Increased security, transport disruptions likely through at least Aug. 3. 

  • Event: Hajj Pilgrimage
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: July 28 - Aug. 2
  • Impact: Increased security; localized transport disruptions

 

Summary

The annual Hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca, Saudi Arabia will occur July 28 - Aug. 2; exact dates may vary by one or two days and depend on local lunar sightings. Millions of Muslims typically participate in the Hajj each year; approximately 2.5 million participated in 2019.

Saudi authorities have restricted this year’s Hajj to around 1,000 Saudi residents to ensure the safety of pilgrims amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Among domestic pilgrims, individuals under 65 years of age and do not have chronic illnesses will be eligible to participate. Authorities are allocating 70 percent of the available spaces to expatriate residents. These individuals must test negative for COVID-19, be first-time pilgrims, and be between 20-50 years old with no chronic illnesses. Non-resident pilgrims will remain barred from participating this year, and the country’s borders remain closed to international passenger travel until further notice.

Pilgrims will undergo COVID-19 testing prior to arrival at holy sites and will be subject to mandatory self-quarantine both before and after the pilgrimage. Touching the Kaaba will be prohibited. Authorities will enforce social distancing between pilgrims during all religious rituals. Facemasks will be required. Violators of COVID-19 restrictions pertaining to the Hajj may face jail time and/or fines.

Access to holy sites at Mona, Muzdalifah, and Arafat will be limited to those with Hajj permits for the duration of the pilgrimage. Increased security and localized transport disruptions are likely in the vicinity of the holy sites.

 

Advice

Plan for localized travel disruptions near holy sites in the vicinity of Mecca and Medina for the duration of the pilgrimage. Government and many corporate offices will close or have reduced operating hours during Hajj.

 

For more information about COVID-19, visit the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence and Resource Center.

 

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