Abdul Monam Al Shihri, the head of the Labor ministry office in Makkah, said that the shops were shut because they failed to comply with the rules and regulations set by the ministry for employment of Saudi women, reported Gulf News. He also added that the ministry will not hesitate from taking action against those who do not respect the order that is aimed at enabling Saudi women to feel comfortable while shopping.
In order to curb the rising unemployment rate in the gulf state, the ministry had launched ambitious programmes to reduce the country's dependence on foreign workers and provide employment to local women and youngsters.
Foreign workers form about one third of the total population in Saudi Arabia and are mainly unskilled people working in construction and service sectors. The new initiatives started by the government that included urging women to take up jobs in shops and supermarket have not been received well by the conservative sections of society who claimed that the measures were aimed at corrupting the Saudi society and undercutting the local traditions.