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Starbucks Saudi Arabia: Women allowed back into store after 'gender wall' erected

By Gary Fennelly

Published 09/02/2016

Starbucks has now lifted the ban on women from a Riyadh store Saudi Arabia
Starbucks has now lifted the ban on women from a Riyadh store Saudi Arabia

Starbucks has lifted a temporary ban on women entering one of its stores in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The ban was put in place after Saudi's religious police complained about the lack of 'gender wall'.

The coffee shop placed a sign in the window, in Arabic and English, telling customers: "Please no entrance for ladies. Only send your driver to order. Thank you".

Twitter user 'Manar N' tweeted that she was denied service at the store and posted a photo of the sign. The picture went viral and made headlines around the world. Starbucks has now lifted the temporary ban.

The US company said in a statement: "We have worked with local authorities to obtain approval to refurbish one of our stores in Jarir, which was originally built without a gender wall. That meant it could only accommodate men in accordance with local law.

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"During construction, the store could only accommodate and serve single men, and a poster was placed at the store entrance as required by local law.

The statement went on: "We are pleased to share that the store is now accessible to single men on one side as well as women and families on the other side.

"Starbucks has now 78 stores in Saudi Arabia and all stores cater to both families and singles, except for one that is exclusively reserved for women and families."

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