Upending a major hallmark of decades-long conservative restrictions, Saudi Arabia on Sunday (Dec 8) announced that restaurants will no longer need to maintain entrances segregated by gender.
Previously, in Saudi Arabia it was mandatory for all restaurants to have one entrance for families and women and another for unaccompanied men. The ministry of municipalities and rural affairs announced on Twitter on Sunday this would no longer be mandatory. It is not clear whether seating areas inside restaurants would also be eliminated.
The new action is in line with the many steps taken by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) in recent months to ease restrictions in Saudi Arabia. MBS removed bans on women driving and public entertainment.
Earlier this year, a royal decree allowed Saudi women to travel abroad without a male guardian’s permission, and in 2018 the Gulf kingdom ended a decades-long ban on female drivers. But activists complain that many laws discriminatory against women remain in place. And several prominent women’s rights advocates have been arrested even as the government has made reforms.
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