There is no end to excuses people make for not wearing masks as some say they feel too hot, some say they forget and some say they left their masks at home.
Public health experts have repeatedly maintained that till now there is no alternative to wearing masks in order to prevent transmission of coronavirus. The government too has adopted a 'no mask, no service' policy. But people are still very careless and negligent about wearing masks.
Government institutions are very strict about mask wearing. However, they do not take temperatures.
A mobile court has taken to the streets in the capital city to ensure people wear masks. And on 25 October, a decision was passed at a cabinet meeting to make it compulsory to wear masks in order to avail government and non-government services.
Sanitiser tunnels have been placed at two of New Market's four gates in the city, but no one uses the tunnels. And the guards do not prevent anyone from entering without masks. Many people were seen without masks in the market. Many avoided questions in this regard. A shopper, Md Nayeem, said he had forgotten to wear a mask.
A shopper who had come with two children refused to talk. Another shopper, Farhana Mim, took a mask out of her bag and said, "I had forgotten to wear it."
There are banners all over the market, urging people to wear masks. The shopkeeper of Beauty Corner, Abdul Majid, was without a mask. But he said the shop owners association was regularly telling them to wear masks.
President of the New Markets traders association, Dewan Aminul Islam, told Prothom Alo, "Many people come to the market and it's hard to control everyone. We will have to stop people from entering the market without masks."
He (rickshaw-puller Jamal) says he keeps his mask in his pocket and wears it when he sees the police coming along
Roushan, the security guard at the main gate of the Chadni Chawk shopping complex, was stopping anyone from entering without a mask. But many shopkeepers and shoppers alike were still entering, unmasked. Speaking to Prothom Alo, Roushan said, "So many people come every day, it is difficult to control them. While I stop one person, another slips past."
Bangladesh Shop Owners Association was holding a programme on Old Elephant Road, next to Gausia Market. Many people there were without masks.
Most of the rickshaw-pullers in the city do not wear masks. Among those who do, most have the masks pulled down under their chins. Rickshaw-puller Jamal told Prothom Alo, "You can't stay long wearing a mask. It gets hot and you feel suffocated." About the government orders in this regard, he says he keeps his mask in his pocket and wears it when he sees the police coming along.
It is the same with public transport. At the Farmgate bus stand it was seen that some bus drivers were wearing masks, but the drivers' helpers all had their masks below their chins.
A bus helper of a Khwaja Baba Paribhan bus, Md Nuru, said, "You can't call to passengers properly if you wear a mask. The passengers won't hear you." Many of the passengers in the bus too were without masks.
A driver of a Bikalpa Paribahan bus, Jamir Sarkar, said, "Many of the passengers don't wear masks. What can be done?"
Everyone entering the Jigatola post office and the Green Road branch of Sonali Bank were wearing masks. But there were no hand sanitisers or arrangements to take their temperatures at the entrances.