Eid shopping peaks amid high risks of coronavirus infection

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:43, May 23,2020


Shopping centres and markets in the city on Friday witnessed a huge rush of shoppers despite risks of COVID-19 spread days before Eid-ul-Fitr, the largest religious festival of Muslims.

Eid shoppers flocked with friends and families to shopping hubs at Gulistan, Mirpur Road and Elephant Road in the capital ignoring the risk of coronavirus infection as the government allowed markets to reopen in a limited scale under some conditions from May 10.

Taking advantage of the lack of monitoring, shopkeepers continued businesses without maintaining health guidelines that the government had asked them to maintain to avoid risks of COVID-19 proliferation as the number of death and infections in the country spiralled following the reopening of markets and factories.

Bangladesh Shop Owners Association president Helal Uddin said that a limited number of shops opened ahead of Eid.

He said that many businessmen tried to maintain health guidelines and provided sanitisers and handwashing facilities for shoppers but failed to make the customers go through the procedure as many other shop owners did not have any such arrangements.

During visits at Elephant Road, Panthapath, Mirpur Road, Satmasjid Road, Rokeya Sarani, Pragati Sarani and Ring Road in the city all types of shops including clothing, footwear, ornaments, cosmetics and electrical and electronics were seen open and huge customers visits the shops without maintaining health guidelines.

On May 7, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police issued a set of directives for shoppers and businesses to maintain after they were allowed to reopen markets.

According to the instructions, the owners could reopen their shops ensuring heath safety measures, including maintenance of social distancing by drawing demarcation circles in front of each shop and arranging for facilities for handwashing or disinfection while separate entry and exit points must also be maintained.

DMP asked shoppers to wear masks, to maintain distance, not to visit shops located beyond two kilometres from areas of residence and asked to show their identification cards or passports or driving licenses or utility bill receipts at entry points of markets and shopping centres in order to locate their residential areas.

Most of the opened markets are doing business in violation of the guidelines but none of the government agencies are taking actions against them.

DMP deputy commissioner Masudur Rahman however said that police repeatedly asked shop owners as well as shoppers to maintain the guidelines but most did not pay heed.

He also claimed that police took actions against a number of shops in the city for violating health guidelines though he did not mention how many.

Newly elected Dhaka South City Corporation mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said that the city corporation could not shut markets, since it was the government decided to allow their reopening.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email