The Ministry of Labor has closed 13 shops in a Riyadh mall for failing to hire Saudi women.
The closure is part of the ministry's campaign that started on Monday, to enforce the feminization of all clothing stores for women in the country. This includes abaya and lingerie stores.
The ministry's field inspectors issued warnings to other shop owners and gave them time to hire women before the next inspections.
Saud Al-Sinitan, field inspection supervisor at the ministry, said that the ministry has a penalty system that includes closing a violating shop's account with the ministry, providing a grace period to rectify its situation, and finally complete closure if the shop fails to comply.
“We have fulltime field inspectors across the Kingdom to enforce the ministry's regulations,” he said.
“We are going to visit every single woman clothing and abaya shops in all malls to make sure they only hire women,” he said.
He said the ministry works with the municipality and the passport department to enforce labor laws. Closed shops would only reopen once Saudi women are hired, he said.
Al-Sinitan said there are women inspectors in the field to report on shops trying to circumvent the regulations.
He said the ministry does not “name and shame” but are determined to ensure this part of the country's Saudization program is enforced.