Access to the recently reopened Al Khor Park will now be restricted to women and children twice a week, including Thursdays when many residents are kicking off their weekend, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment has said.
Previously, men were only banned on Tuesdays.
Thousands of residents – including 30,000 on one weekend in late March alone – have visited the park in recent weeks following a QR250 million, multiyear renovation project.
Al Khor Park now includes an aviary, a waterfall, a miniature golf course, battery-operated train, children’s play area, basketball court, amphitheater, skating area and a museum.
It’s also home to more than 100 animals that used to live at the old Doha Zoo.
Since re-opening, Al Khor Park has been a family-only facility, which is practice means unaccompanied men are prohibited from entering.
With men outnumbering women in Qatar by a ratio of 3:1, some say such policies are needed to allow women to feel comfortable in public places.
However, others argue that it’s a form of discrimination that bars blue-collar men – many of whom are not allowed to bring their wives and children to Qatar – from recreational and shopping amenities.
Last fall, the Central Municipal Council called on malls to revive family-only days and ban low-income workers from entering shopping centers on weekends.
Council member Nasser Ibrahim Mohamed Al Mohannadi said at the time that the issue was particularly sensitive in Al Khor because there is only one small mall there that includes the town’s main supermarket where hundreds of men flock on Fridays to buy their groceries.
Al Mohannadi said the crowds sometimes make it uncomfortable for women and girls to simply walk around the mall, and sometimes men look at them inappropriately, which is against the customs and traditions of a conservative society like Qatar.
After the Al Khor Park reopened, some residents questioned the family-only policy and suggested it should be a public facility that’s open to all.
Others said they favored the rules and said they were more comfortable visiting the park knowing that no unaccompanied men would be present.
Al Khor Park is open from 8am to 10pm daily. Admission is QR5 per adult.