The Sultanate of Oman is bringing in a new law which makes wearing clothes that keep shoulders, knees, and chest uncovered a punishable offence for tourists, both male and female. Such restrictions already exist for citizens of the country but now the visitors to the gulf nation will also have to adhere to them.
People will also have to be careful about the illustrations on their clothes. If the designs are deemed to be objectionable, then too they could find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Those tourists found violating this new dress code could be liable to receive a jail sentence ranging from one to three months and a fine between OMR100-OMR300 ($260-$780).
Reason for Enacting New Law
As per the version of the government, this new law needed to be brought in as there was unhappiness in the Omani society over revealing clothing being worn by tourists. Apparently, there were a large number of complaints made by ordinary citizens of the country about the way foreigners are dressed places such as malls.
Qais bin Mohammed Al-Ma'shari, chairman of the Public Affairs Committee in the Municipal Council of Muscat Governorate, explained the rationale behind bringing this law to a local newspaper. He said it's important for outsiders to "properly cover required parts of the body."
"The rules will be the same for residents in the country, as they are for Omanis. We need to make sure that the clothes worn do not breach the etiquettes of modesty," Al Ma'shari said in an interview. "Therefore, this decision will include everyone without discrimination. As part of this decision, males and females will not be allowed to wear shorts above the knee, as well as sleeveless shirts that expose the chest and shoulders," he added.
Impact on Country
If the law is approved by the authorities as per schedule, it would be applicable from the month of October. The next stage in legislation of this new rule for tourists is a discussion in the Municipal Council. Following that, the last stage for the proposal becoming law would be approval from the Minister of the Diwan of the Royal Court of the country.
Oman happens to be one of the more conservative countries in the gulf region. Other nations like Bahrain and UAE have welcomed foreigners with open arms and have given greater liberty to their own citizens. How much will this law affect the inflow of tourists remains to be seen.