(VitalNews.org) – According to sources, Saudi Arabia will allow its first alcohol shop in 72 years. Many are confused as to whether this is a minor change or if this will change things for Saudi Arabia completely.
The preparations for the store are in the works and a document circulated that explains just how carefully the officials and leaders will be monitoring the store and its operations. The store will be located in the capital’s Diplomatic Quarter and it will be accessible only to non-Muslim diplomats. For the rest of Saudi Arabia, which is over 30 million people, nothing will change for them.
With the arrival of their first alcohol store in 72 years, there have been some restrictions that should have been expected. For example, purchasing quotas will be enforced, you have to register with an application to go into the store, and customers will be asked to keep their phones in a “mobile pouch” while they browse or shop for alcohol.
The feelings regarding this decision vary depending on the person you ask. Some people feel that the country is expanding and growing, so changes are expected to take place, while others are either opposed to it or indifferent. The country itself is growing in terms of business, popularity, and more so the addition of these things is not as surprising.
However, on the other hand, some people are feeling confused by the addition of the alcohol store. One Saudi Arabian man said “It’s not that I have, like, some kind of judgment towards people who drink. No, absolutely not. But having something that is out there affects the culture and the community.”
Another Saudi Arabian man chimed in to say, “It’s just scary that they’re allowing such things into the country. Any individual that wants to try alcohol, it’s literally an hour by plane away.”
The government’s Center for International Communication said that the policy’s goal was “to counter the illicit trade of alcohol goods and products received by diplomatic missions”. Hidden alcohol markets are not uncommon in Saudi Arabia, and some whiskey bottles can go for hundreds of dollars.
Some people are more concerned with how it would affect other businesses like restaurants or alcohol-free spritz companies which are very popular in Saudi Arabia, while others are worried about how the country will be perceived if they allow alcohol to be legally purchased there.
A brand manager for an alcohol-free spritz company spoke out saying, “There has always been speculation about having the real alcohol here … But to be honest, it’s with the government, we don’t know yet and I cannot speculate on anything.”
Saudi Arabians are confused by the ruling but they expect to see more changes as things grow within the country.
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