Thursday 20 June 2024
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Women forbidden from entering Starbucks in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's religious police banned female customers from a coffee shop in Riyadh after finding that a gender partition wall had collapsed

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MILAN – Saudi Arabia’s religious police barred women from entering a Starbucks coffee shop after a gender-separating wooden wall collapsed many times under customer stampedes, Emirates 24/7, reported on Sunday quoting local sources. Women going to the café in the capital Riyadh found a board placed at the door, telling them to keep out of the place.

According to Emirates 24/7, the mandate was passed down from the nation’s religious police after a routine inspection revealed that the coffee shop’s “gender wall” — a wooden barrier intended to keep men and women separate — had collapsed.

According to Arabic-language newspaper Al Weaam, a sign was posted on the coffee shop’s door that read, “On order by the Commission… please no women allowed in… women can send in their drivers to buy for them.”

Saudi women are outlawed from driving, which has led to booming business for driver-on-demand services like Uber.

The gender partitions are present in all Saudi dining establishments, from full-service restaurants to fast food chains located in mall food courts.

A rep for Starbucks reached out on Tuesday to clarify that the “gender wall” at the Riyadh Starbucks has not collapsed; rather, the store is undergoing renovations. The company issued the following statement:


“Starbucks in Saudi Arabia adheres to the local customs by providing separate entrances for families as well as single people. All our stores provide equal amenities, service, menu, and seating to men, women and families. We are working as quickly as possible as we refurbish our Jarir store, so that we may again welcome all customers in accordance with local customs.”


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