No fun! Saudi Arabia finalizes 9 pm shop closure rule
A high commission set up to develop the regulations ensuring retailers close at 9 p.m. has completed its task.
The commission is represented by a number of government bodies and the new regulations will oblige shops to trade from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The new regulations, however, have exempted stores in the central areas of Makkah and Madinah.
These businesses will be regulated by the city councils, which will also ensure they do not close any later than 2 a.m. during Ramadan, except for restaurants that are allowed to open until suhoor (the meal before starting the day’s fast).
Shops that are required to open for 24 hours will be regulated by a joint committee of the labor, interior, rural and municipal affairs ministries, while recreational centers, amusement parks and restaurants will close at midnight during the week and at 1 a.m. during the weekends and holidays.
The regulations will be issued before the end of the year and a six-month grace period for its implementation will be put in place.
The head of the Riyadh Center for the Development of Small and Medium Businesses, Mansour Al-Shethri, said the basic reason for the new regulations is to establish a suitable working environment that will encourage Saudis of both genders to work in shops.
He pointed out these regulations come at the heels of the Ministry of Labor’s regulations to Saudize shops and the third stage of government directives obliging shops that sell ladies’ fashion to employ women.
Al-Shethri explained retailers employ more than 1.5 million workers, most of whom are unskilled expatriates, and these jobs can be occupied by Saudis.