Wednesday, March 29, 2023 | Ramadan 6, 1444 H
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All eyes on Salalah’s beloved Khareef


Now that the full lockdown is finally over, a lot of the online conversations happening now revolve around Salalah’s hotly-anticipated Khareef season.

During the lockdown, with fewer human movements in Salalah and the continued onslaught of the monsoon, reports coming in show that fields and valleys were finally transformed into lush gardens.

“The lush greenery is not as amazing as two years back when there was more water and rain due to the cyclone but without a doubt, it’s the typical khareef that gives you an escape from the seething heart of Muscat,” one Dhofari citizen noted.

Numerous questions had been floated even prior to the lockdown. Will Salalah be opened for travel amongst Oman’s residents and citizens? Will it be opened for tourists from abroad and other GCC states? How safe is the travel? And are we going to see the 5 pm curfew cancelled during the khareef season this August? Here are a few refreshers of where we currently stand when it comes to the Supreme Committee Decisions.

Will Salalah be opened for travel amongst Oman’s residents and citizens?

The answer is both yes and no. As per the last update released by the Supreme Committee prior to the full lockdown, residents and citizens who got their first jab of the vaccine will be able to travel and visit Dhofar. If you haven’t taken your jab yet, then that means that it’s a no for you.

While this policy is great news for those who got their vaccine, the country is yet to fully vaccinate those below 18. Parents are awaiting clarification whether their kids who were not vaccinated yet will be allowed entry. Hopefully, a series of statements will be made this week to clarify this matter. Our reporters will definitely be following up.

Will travel to Dhofar from abroad and other GCC states be allowed?

While ‘tourists’ was mentioned in the Supreme Committee’s announcement two weeks back, it wasn’t specified if those tourists are the ones from abroad. With still the threat of the new variants, the most likely scenario will be a no unless a clear measure is put in place to ensure the safety of the governorate. It is anticipated that the full-lockdown will result in a lower number of Covid cases and the easing of cases in ICU, those efforts will definitely not be wasted nor the authorities will allow wanton disregard for public safety.

How safe is it to travel to Salalah?

With our recent experience, flight-wise, with full-board planes, regardless of the measures in place, it still is an alarming sight to see. One fellow passenger noted that airports and aeroplanes are a powder keg of Covid transmission the reason being that while measures are put in place at the airport, once you are at the boarding gate and inside the plane, all safety measures fly out of the window. The best option, as recommended not only by travel experts but also by the majority of driving enthusiasts, is to go by road. So if you have the patience for 8 to 10 hours of drive, then you can choose between the coastal drive passing through Sur towards Ashkharah or you can opt for the shorter Adam-Thamrait road.

Will the current curfew that is still in effect be cancelled?

Decisions by the Supreme Committee as explained by the Minister of Health look into the balance of overall health safety and economic movement. While a lot are praying and gossiping that it will be removed, the ultimate decision will still come from the authorities.

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