Shops in Saudi Arabia to reduce hours of business
Shops in Saudi Arabia will put a stop to late opening hours under an ambitious government plan to attract jobseekers within the country to the business and retail sector. Under the proposal, shops throughout the kingdom will be open from 6am until 9pm – with the only exceptions being in the cities of Makkah and Medina, where Muslims congregate to perform Haj and Umrah and to visit religious sites.
Local municipalities will issue specific regulations concerning when shops are allowed to open, according to reports – and throughout the fasting month of Ramadan all cities and towns should not be beyond 2am.
Currently shops in Saudi Arabia can remain open during Ramadan until a few minutes before sunrise.
According to the proposal, recreational centres, restaurants and cafes will remain open until midnight on weekdays and until 1am during weekends and holidays, and is expected to be issued officially before the end of the current year, whereby shops will be given a grace period of six months to begin implementation.
Officials in Saudi Arabia attributed the decision to "a plan to motivate Saudi men and women to work in shops by ensuring an attractive setting."