Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet has approved a measure to allow shops to remain open for 24 hours, but the move stops short of explicitly peeling back the mandatory closure of stores during daily Muslim prayers.
The decision, reported by the state-run Saudi Press Agency, only says that the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs will decide the fees shops would need to pay to remain open around the clock. The move could help local businesses boost their sales.
Any decision to allow stores to remain open during prayer would likely stoke public backlash from conservative Saudis.
Although the powers of the kingdom’s morality police have been curbed under King Salman, they still monitor that shops close for the five daily prayers, though that enforcement has become lax in some neighbourhoods.