Many shoppers were seen flouting health safety rules and ignoring social distancing
As shops and shopping malls have reopened their doors, on condition of strictly following Covid-19 guidelines amid lockdown, many people were in a rush to complete their shopping ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
While visiting several markets in Dhaka’s Dhandmondi, Mohammadpur and New Market areas, it was found that the number of visitors varied from market to market with many people flouting health safety guidelines on Sunday.
At Bashundhara City Shopping Mall, people were seen entering the market in queue. Visitors were asked by the authorities to wear masks and wash their hands in the temporary basins.
Shariful islam, manager of Gentle Park outlet, said: “We have been seeing customers since morning. I thought people will not come out amid lockdown but they are lining up to shop.”
However, another shop Look N Line’s owner Abul Khayer said: “So far, we haven’t got enough customers. People are afraid of the coronavirus situation. There were more people during the lockdown last year.”
Most of the shops were seen serving the visitors maintaining health safety rules at Bashundhara City Shopping Mall.
A visitor Hasan Mahmud said that he went there to buy new clothes for his family.
All the six members of his family recently recovered from Covid-19 and now they want to spend the Eid together wearing new clothes. “We need a little joy in our life,” he added.
Presence of the shoppers was insignificant at Tokyo Square in Mohammadpur and Metro Shopping Mall in Dhanmondi.
Rikta Akhter, a sales executive at Tokyo Square, told the Dhaka Tribune: “People haven't started coming to the markets yet. Those who are coming are wearing masks.”
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However, the picture in New Market and Gausia was completely different.
A large number of people were seen walking around without wearing a mask. Many were seen wearing masks on their chin or lowering for some time to take a breather.
A visitor Shainur Akhter Shirin said: “Why don't you ask those who are going to kitchen market every day if they are following the hygiene rules or not? I will come back to shop again.”
Dewan Aminul Islam Shaheen, president of the New Market Businessmen Association, said: “Although many people have come, it can’t be called a crowd if you compare to the usual crowds [at New Market] ahead of Eid.
“We are supervising the situation to make sure that customers and shopkeepers are following the hygiene rules. If we can continue like this, we will be able to do some business,” he said.
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Bangladesh Dokan Malik Samity President Helal Uddin told the Dhaka Tribune that they had welcomed the government's decision to reopen the markets.
“Right now, we need sales to save the lives of the businessmen and the employees. We can’t sell if people do not come to the market. We will no longer be able to recover this loss,” he said.
Shops and shopping malls had remained shut since April 5 with a spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths. The decision had enraged the shop owners and staff who also staged street protests against the lockdown.
Eid-ul-Fitr is generally the busiest time for businesses, but last year’s Eid was celebrated amid the Covid-19 outbreak. Many businesses had suffered huge losses.
As per the latest decision, shops and malls will remain open from 10am to 5pm every day. The government has warned of legal action if hygiene rules are not maintained properly.