Saudi Starbucks refuses service to women

By Shawn Price   |   Updated Feb. 5, 2016 at 6:35 AM
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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A Starbucks in Saudi Arabia's capital is refusing to serve women after its "gender wall" collapsed.

The country's religious police have banned women from the coffee shop in Riyadh after the wooden partition that separated the men's side of the shop from the women's side collapsed. The wall had apparently collapsed many times under what was described as customer stampedes.

At the door of the shop now reads a sign in Arabic and English: PLEASE NO ENTRY TO LADIES ONLY SEND YOUR DRIVER TO ORDER THANK YOU.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice ordered the café's manager to bar women after a routine inspection found the wall had collapsed.

Starbucks issued a statement after pictures of the sign were tweeted.

"Starbucks in Saudi Arabia adheres to the local customs by providing separate entrances for families as well as single people," the statement read. "We are working as quickly as possible as we refurbish our Jarir store, so that we may again welcome all customers in accordance with local customs."

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