Saudi Arabia is set to open its first liquor shop in decades.
But the shop, located in the capital Riyadh, will only serve non-Muslim, foreign diplomats who have a special license to buy and consume alcohol.
The move is part of the kingdom’s efforts to relax some of its strict social rules and attract more foreign investment and tourism, as it seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy.
Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has introduced several reforms in recent years, such as allowing women to drive, lifting the ban on cinemas and concerts, and permitting mixed-gender gatherings.
Alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam, has been illegal in Saudi Arabia since the 1950s, and anyone caught drinking or smuggling it can face harsh penalties, including flogging, imprisonment and deportation.
Despite the ban, alcohol is available on the black market and in some private compounds where foreigners live and work.
The new liquor shop, which will be operated by a state-owned company, will offer a range of alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer and spirits, to diplomats who have a valid ID and a quota.
The shop is expected to open in the coming weeks, according to Bloomberg.