Saudi Arabia sets new trading hours

Most shops will be allowed to trade from 6am to 9pm, according to new regulations

Most Saudi shops will be allowed to trade from 6am to 9pm following the approval of new trading regulations, it was reported.

However, the regulations exempt stores in the central areas of Makkah and Madinah, Saudi Gazette reported.

These businesses will be regulated by the city councils, which will also ensure they do not close any later than 2am during Ramadan, except for restaurants that are allowed to open until suhoor (the meal before starting the day’s fast).

The newspaper reported that shops that are required to open for 24 hours will be regulated by a joint committee of the labor, interior, rural and municipal affairs ministries.

Recreational centres, amusement parks and restaurants will close at midnight during the week and at 1am during the weekends and holidays.

The regulations will be issued before the end of the year with a six-month grace period provided.

The head of the Riyadh Center for the Development of Small and Medium Businesses, Mansour Al Shethri, said the regulations would establish a suitable working environment to encourage Saudis, Saudi Gazette reported.

The Ministry of Labor has been embarking on efforts to Saudize shops, with stores selling women’s fashion obliged to  shops that sell ladies’ fashion to employ women.

Al Shethri said retailers employed more than 1.5 million workers, most of whom were “unskilled expatriates”. He said the jobs could be occupied by Saudis.

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