Saudi Arabia is preparing to open liquor stores for the first time. The store will be opened only for the country’s non-Muslim diplomats in the capital Riyadh. This information was informed in the report of the news agency Reuters citing a source in this regard.
The new liquor store will be located in Riyadh’s diplomatic quarter, Reuters said, citing a document and a source involved in the plans to set up the liquor store. Mainly the embassies and diplomats reside in this area. According to sources, the store is likely to open in the next few weeks.
According to documents obtained by Reuters, the purchase of alcohol for non-Muslims will be ‘strictly restricted’. To get liquor, customers must first register through a mobile app. After receiving a clearance code from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, customers can buy a certain amount of liquor every month. However, the document does not clearly mention whether other non-Muslim expatriates will have access to these shops.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has decided to open liquor stores to boost tourism and other business sectors. It is also a part of Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision-2030. He wants to free the Saudi economy from the influence of the oil trade after 2030.
Saudi Arabia has some strict laws against drinking. Drinking alcohol in the country is punishable by hundreds of lashes, banishment, fines or imprisonment. However, in Saudi Arabia, alcohol is available through diplomatic channels and on the black market.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia’s strict social restrictions have been largely relaxed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This includes opening up the country to non-religious tourism, concerts and allowing women to drive.