Saudi Arabia ends gender segregation in restaurants 

Women sit among men in a cafe in Khobar, Saudi Arabia opened this year. (Reuters/File photo)
Updated 09 December 2019

Saudi Arabia ends gender segregation in restaurants 

  • Restaurants in the Kingdom have until now had to provide two entrances: one for women and families and another for men
  • Rules to make life easier for investors, citizens, says Makkah mayor

RIYADH/MAKKAH: The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has ended the requirement for restaurants to have separate sections for males and families.

Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, the department’s minister-designate, also approved other updates to rules and regulations in different sectors on Sunday.

Dr. Khaled Al-Jammaz, undersecretary-designate for technical affairs at the ministry, explained that the move was part of a number of amendments that included 103 regulations, requirements, manuals, models, standards and applications for activities of all kinds.

Makkah Mayor Mohammed Abdullah Al-Quwaihis told Arab News that the amendments aimed to make life easier for investors, citizens and entrepreneurs.

“They will be positive and will ease many conditions and restrictions, but they will not affect the core of the work in terms of public health and food, and this decision will increase the flow of investment and the number and variety of restaurants,” he said.

Nasser Al-Shalhoub, one of the owners of the soon-to-be opened Chaoua coffee shop, said that ending the requirement to have separate sections for males and families was an excellent decision — “especially since we are facing a problem with increasing costs because we are obligated to make two counters for the two sections, and now with this amendment the ministry has helped us to start working and reduce costs.”

A good designer can provide clever solutions to offer privacy for customers in different ways; it doesn’t have to be by blocking the place with big walls.

Abdulrahman Al-Harbi, An architect

“This will benefit us because we will take advantage of the space, and the area will look better,” he said.

Abdulrahman Al-Harbi, an architect, said: “A good designer can provide clever solutions to offer privacy for customers in different ways; it doesn’t have to be by blocking the place with big walls,” Al-Harbi said.

Ruba Al-Harbi, who manages a restaurant and owns the Snapchat lifestyle account @Tasteeandtell, also agrees with the amendment. “It’s a waste of money to open two sections for males and families because this segregation will do nothing when both sides meet outside the restaurant’s doors.” She said that she had noticed the change a while ago, even before it was announced on the ministry’s website.

“I have entered several restaurants that had only one section and it was fine to sit and eat there.”

Al-Harbi said that were many issues when restaurants were divided. “Family sections are usually crowded. You often can’t find a place to sit while male sections are always empty because they don’t go to restaurants as much as females,” she said. 

Dareen Rajeh, a compliance analyst, said that many people in Saudi Arabia needed to get used to the existence of both sexes in the same place without becoming confused or uncomfortable. “We need to open our horizons and focus on more important issues.”


King Salman: G20 provided $11 trillion to overcome effects of COVID-19 pandemic under Saudi Arabia’s presidency

Updated 27 October 2020

King Salman: G20 provided $11 trillion to overcome effects of COVID-19 pandemic under Saudi Arabia’s presidency

  • King Salman said the Kingdom’s G20 presidency was keen to listen to various recommendations through ministerial meetings and working groups of G20

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency has contributed about $11 trillion to protect the global economy with a clear commitment and determination to do “whatever is necessary” to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.
In a speech read in behalf of King Salman during the handover the final communique of B20 Summit, investment minister Khalid Al-Falih said the Kingdom’s G20 presidency also pledged $21 billion to support the production, distribution, and availability of diagnostic and treatment tools, medicines and vaccines, a report from state news agency SPA said.
King Salman likewise said the Kingdom’s G20 presidency was keen to listen to various recommendations through ministerial meetings and working groups of G20, the report added.
“I would like to thank Business Group 20 and its partners from all countries of the world for their efforts during this exceptional period,” according to King Salman, adding that the goal of the Kingdom’s presidency of G20 is to “seize the opportunities of twenty-first century for all.”
“We cannot talk about “shaping new frontiers” in the G20 without discussing innovative solutions that contribute to developing the financial infrastructure, improving of the global trade systems, protecting of the private sector, restoring capital flows to emerging markets, and harnessing the digital economy tools that help us reach the desired financial inclusion during various circumstances,” King Salman said.
King Salman’s speech likewise lauded the “resilience and strength of the Saudi economy” amid the coronavirus pandemic and reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to “increasing growth and prosperity levels through empowerment and investments in new sectors; especially the sectors that will lead the global recovery and protect countries from future pandemics.”