The news you come across today might just be the first astonishing one in quite a while. It seems that Saudi Arabia plans to open its first alcohol shop in over 70 years, exclusively catering to non-Muslim expats, specifically diplomatic staff in Riyadh. These are two things we did not know we would see written side by side, Saudi Arabia and Alcohol store. However, we were also surprised when we saw the opening of the first cinema in the country.
It can be said that there have been quite a few considerable changes in the Kingdom. These have taken place in the last half decade and a lot of them also envelop technological developments. However, an alcohol shop sounds like a first for the country. The shop, situated in the Diplomatic Quarter of Riyadh, aims to counter the illicit trade of alcohol and will have strict limitations on clientele. Thus, this not only curbs the illegal trade, but also puts boundaries on foreigners looking to have a drink.
Saudi Arabia And First Liquor Shop
According to the news, Diplomats must register in advance, be over 21, adhere to proper attire, and cannot send proxies to purchase alcohol. This means they cannot send their drivers or other people from their house to purchase the alcohol. Additionally, the registration must be granted by the government first before alcohol can be bought. Monthly limitations on alcohol purchase are set at 240 points, with one liter of spirits equaling six points, wine three points, and beer one point.
The move is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 initiatives to liberalize society, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. We can see quite a lot of developments under this initiative, including Saudi Arabia’s volunteering to host the World Expo in a couple of years. While we can see it as a strategic move, we hope that not even a drop of alcohol comes near to any of the sacred cities of the country.
A Ban For Seven Decades
Penalties for unauthorized alcohol consumption in Saudi Arabia include fines, imprisonment, public flogging, and deportation for foreigners. There are strict laws in place and they are implemented without hesitation. Thus, we know that if there is regulation in Saudi Arabia, it is going to be successful. The government is considering a new regulatory framework to allow diplomats to bring in specific quantities of alcohol, ending the uncontrolled exchange of such goods.
The ban on alcohol was imposed back in 1952 by King Abdul-Aziz after Mishari bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud, a prince, shot Cyril Ousman, the British vice-consul in Jeddah, to death in 1951. This was due to refusing to pour him another drink at a function.
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