Saudi Arabia is gearing up to launch its first dedicated alcohol store in Riyadh with access restricted to non-Muslim diplomatic personnel, according to Reuters quoting an informed source on Wednesday.
A document stated that access to the store requires registering on a mobile app and obtaining an access code from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with monthly quotas to apply.
The source explained that the location of the new store will be in the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh, where there are embassies and diplomats reside, and its sales will be limited “exclusively and strictly” to non-Muslims.
A source familiar with the plans said that the store is expected to open its doors in the coming weeks.
Saudi Arabia applies strict laws on drinking alcohol, with penalties include flogging, fines, deportation and imprisonment,
As part of the amendments, flogging was mostly replaced by imprisonment.
Previously, alcoholic beverages could only be obtained in Saudi Arabia through diplomatic mail or through the black market.
This latest policy change is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” plan which involves social reforms designed to modernize Saudi society.