Saudi women going to the Starbucks café in Riyadh were surprised to find a board at the door asking them to keep out of the place, according to Emirates 24/7.
Images of the notice preventing women from entering Starbucks soon began showing up on Twitter.
The notice, in Arabic as well as English, reads, “Please no entry for ladies, only send your driver to order. Thank you.”
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the most influential law enforcing authority in the Kingdom, ordered the café’s management not to admit women, according to Emirates 24/7.
The commission issued the order after it found that the gender-separation wall ordered by authorities for all restaurants and other shops had collapsed.
The management told police that the wall had collapsed many times because of persistent stampedes by customers.
According to Cosmopolitan, Starbucks issued a statement explaining their action. “Starbucks in Saudi Arabia adheres to the local customs by providing separate entrances for families as well as single people. All our stores provide equal amenities, service, menu, and seating to men, women and families,” 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,” it added.
Many took to Twitter to condemn the act: