Saudi Arabia ends gender segregation in restaurants 

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 

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.”

Environment fund, centers inaugurated in Saudi Arabia  

Updated 12 min 57 sec ago

Environment fund, centers inaugurated in Saudi Arabia  

Environment fund, centers inaugurated in Saudi Arabia  
  • Ministry aims to contribute to the financial sustainability, protect ecosystems

Saudi Arabia’s newly established environment fund and environment centers were inaugurated on Thursday as part of the country’s sustainability strategy and efforts to ensure the protection of its environment and ecosystems.
The fund and five centers were inaugurated by Abdulrahman Al-Fadley, who is the minister of environment, water and agriculture.
“Establishing an environment fund aims at contributing to the financial sustainability of the environment sector and providing the necessary capabilities for its advancement, by contributing to supporting the operational budgets of environmental centers, supporting environmental programs, studies and initiatives, stimulating environmentally friendly technologies and improving environmental performance and environmental rehabilitation programs,” the minister said.
The National Center for the Development of Vegetation Cover and Combating Desertification aims to develop and manage national parks, develop and rehabilitate vegetation cover in forests, protect local endangered plant species, combat desertification, in addition to conducting studies and supporting research related to vegetation.
The National Center for Environmental Compliance is concerned with monitoring the environmental compliance of all establishments that have an impact on the environment in all development sectors, supervising programs for monitoring sources of environmental pollution in addition to approving environmental impact studies, issuing environmental licenses for all development projects, and inspecting installations.
The ministry said the tasks of the National Center for Wildlife Development included supervising programs related to the protection and development of wildlife and biological diversity, as well as planning and managing protected areas and managing centers for the breeding and resettlement of endangered animals.
The National Center for Meteorology will monitor weather and climate conditions, prepare forecasts, provide airports, ports and other bodies with data and weather forecasts, and operate weather monitoring stations in the Kingdom’s regions.
The National Center for Waste Management will organize the waste management sector to improve the quality of services, enhance the level of capabilities and competencies, enhance the economic sustainability of the sector by stimulating investment and maximizing the participation of the private sector, reduce waste disposal in landfills by stimulating the use of best practices in resource recovery techniques.