Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 September 2020

Drive-thru food truck grocery stores open in Saudi Arabia to prevent overcrowding at supermarkets

The mobile fruit and vegetable market has been set up in Al Khobar

Saudi Arabia's first "food truck market" has been launched in a bid to prevent overcrowding in supermarkets amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Eastern Province municipality of Al Khobar set up 12 points of sale in air-conditioned cabins at the new fruit and vegetable market, allowing customers to shop directly from their vehicles.

The initiative also allows Saudi youth to sell their products safely.

Saudis shop at a supermarket at the Panorama Mall in the capital Riyadh on May 22, 2020, as Muslims prepare to celebrate the upcoming Eid al-Fitr, that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. / AFP / FAYEZ NURELDINE
A supermarket in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. AFP

The market, which opened for the first time on Friday, runs daily from 8am to 7pm. It covers an area of 6,500 square metres at the Al-Iskan park, south of Al Khobar.

Sultan bin Hamid Al Zaidi, the mayor of Al Khobar, assured visitors that a range of strict health and safety measures were in place to ensure the market is hygienic. This includes 10 workers employed to clean the area during working hours, as well as the provision of on-site health supervisors.

The impact of Covid-19 in Saudi Arabia

The kingdom is starting to gradually reopen after the pandemic first resulted in closures in March.

However, on Saturday, it reported 3,121 new Covid-19 cases, which is the highest daily count of confirmed cases so far.

This brings the total number of people in Saudi Arabia to have contracted the virus to 98,869. There are currently 26,402 active cases, 1,484 of which are critical.

There have been a total of 71,791 recoveries and 676 deaths.

On Friday, the country imposed new restrictions in Jeddah, including a curfew in the Red Sea city from 3pm to 6am for two weeks to contain the spread of the disease.

People walk outside the King Abdulaziz Airport upon their arrival to the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. AFP
People walk outside the King Abdulaziz Airport upon their arrival to the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. AFP

Public and private sector employees have been banned from attending workplaces, and public gatherings of more than five people are prohibited.

Prayers in the city's mosques had also been suspended and dining in all restaurants and cafes not allowed.

Updated: June 8, 2020 12:03 PM

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