Women in Saudi Arabia have reportedly been barred from Starbucks because a gender segration wall in the coffee shop collapsed.
Female customers were allegedly told to ‘send their driver’ to pick up their drinks, after religious police noticed the ‘gender barrier’ had collapsed.
Posters outside the shop, which have been angrily tweeted by women, stated in Arabic and English that women were not allowed to enter.
They read: “Please no entry for ladies, only send your drivers to order. Thank you.”
One Saudi woman posted on Twitter: “Starbucks store in Riyadh refused to serve me just because I’m a woman and asked me to send a man instead.”
The shop’s management was reportedly ordered to ban women from entering to get coffee after it found that a ‘segregation wall’ inside the store had given way during a routine inspection around a market in the capital city, according to Arabic-language paper Al Weaam.
It also reported that the store’s management told police that the wall regularly collapsed because of customer stampedes.
Saudi Arabia is notorious for gender segregation. Women require the approval of a male guardian to travel or work outside of the home.
In public spaces – such as restaurants, beaches, amusement parks or banks – women are required to enter and exit through special doors.
A Starbucks spokesman told Cosmopolitan.com that the Riyadh store was undergoing a renovation to build a divide that will accommodate single people as well as families.
He denied the claims a gender-separation wall had collapsed.
In a statement the company said: “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. 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.”