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 

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 @Tasteandtell, 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.”


French envoy meets Qassim governor, praises development in region

Updated 27 February 2020

French envoy meets Qassim governor, praises development in region

  • Prince Faisal praised the deep relations between the Kingdom and France

RIYADH: French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Francois Gouyette on Tuesday met Qassim Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal.

During the meeting, they discussed issues of common interest.

The meeting was organized during Gouyette’s visit to the region.

Prince Faisal praised the deep relations between the Kingdom and France. The French ambassador expressed his happiness at meeting the governor, praising the development that he witnessed in the region.

The Franco-Saudi relationship is characterized by long-standing relations of friendship. High-level exchanges and joint projects in many fields testify to the solidity of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

In a column for Arab News on French National Day last year, Gouyette, wrote: “The Franco-Saudi relationship relies on common strategic interests, as well as on a broad convergence of views on the major issues (such as peace, security and development) and challenges (including sustainable growth and health) of the 21st century. On all regional and international topics, Paris and Riyadh maintain a close and constant dialogue to coordinate their efforts.”

Through the implementation of Saudi Vision 2030 and in shared approaches to major international challenges, the envoy said that France and Saudi Arabia are fully mobilized to maintain the strong relationship.