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Qatar shopping malls stick to 'family-day' policy
Source: BI-ME , Author: BI-ME staff
Posted: Sun October 12, 2008 12:00 am

QATAR. Another Doha shopping centre announced ‘family only days’ yesterday, making it even more difficult for single men to enter any of the leading shopping centres in the city on weekends.

From this week onwards, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays will be off limits to single men, from 4.00pm to 10.00pm, at the Hyatt Plaza as its management has decided to finally “curb the ever-increasing movement of bachelors” on its premises.

The ban will be for “bad-smelling, poorly-dressed adult men” but it would not affect those who do not fall in this category, a senior executive said, without giving further details.

“The decision was taken after the incessant flow of low-income workers to our mall on Fridays proved to be inconvenient for families,” the executive said adding, “Hyatt Plaza’s business philosophy is extremely family-centric.”

Previously, it observed family-hours on certain festivals and in-house occasions only.

“We get a large number of workers because of the Villaggio mall nearby, where thousands of labourers pour in on Fridays because of promotions at Carrefour. But they refuse to take them,” he said.

According to him, workers who are turned away from the next-door mall then come to Hyatt Plaza. “We have nothing to offer them. None of our stores caters to their needs,” he said, while adding that “reasonable, decent men” will still be allowed in.

There are close to 1 million labourers in Qatar, out of an estimated population of 1.7 million.

Meanwhile, the ‘bachelor ban’ policy at other leading shopping malls in Qatar continues to perplex and embarrass single men. 

Doha City Centre yesterday said it was lenient with the bachelors over the past weekend, while others denied reports of doing away with the ‘family only’ policy as reported in a section of the press.

“Bachelors were allowed in at Doha City Centre on Friday, because it was the first weekend after Eid holidays and we had not received any instructions from our management,” a security official at Doha’s busiest shopping mall told the local daily Gulf Times.

According to him, security supervisors employed by the mall are notified about the policy by the central management on a weekly basis but his team wouldn’t be able to state the stance for next weekend.

An official at the Villaggio mall denied reports of allowing in bachelors last Friday, saying that “we have been observing the weekend ban since our opening in the summer of 2006”.

“Someone most likely was able to sneak in and suggested it is an open day to others as well,” she said.
Villaggio enforces family-only hours between 1.30pm and 11.00pm on Fridays.

An official of The Mall, another centre that enforces a bachelor ban policy, said their security officials basically differentiated between decency and indecency.

“They [security officials] are there to discourage bachelors harassing girls. They stop school kids and teenagers who create trouble during the family hours,” he said.

“Bad-smelling” and “poorly-dressed” bachelors are not welcome at The Mall on Thursdays and Fridays from 10.00am to 10.00pm. Friday has been added after the Eid. The original policy has been in effect since March.

“The security staff are reasonable and will almost always be very cordial and polite,” the official added. The Mall has a total of six entry and exit points for the general public.

The Landmark has been following a ‘family day’ on Thursday from 3.30pm to 9.30pm, on the basis of a pre-opening survey conducted in 2000.



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