People of all ages cram the markets during holy month of Ramadan before Eid-ul-Fitr
People of all ages cram the markets during holy month of Ramadan before Eid-ul-FitrUNB file photo

As businesspeople have been permitted to keep shopping malls and markets open on a limited scale from Sunday, some of them reopened their shops in different parts of the country, including Dhaka and Chattogram, while some kept their businesses shut as there is no sign of lessening the spread of coronavirus disease.

All the businesspeople in Rajshahi, Sylhet, Chandpur and Feni and a significant number of them in Chattogram and Dhaka have decided to keep their businesses shut until Eid-ul-Fitr to contain the spread of the virus.

Most shopping malls in the capital will remain shut for now considering the coronavirus situation, said the Bangladesh Shop Owners Association (BSOA).

Association president Helal Uddin said most of the shopping malls and markets, including the busiest markets in Gulistan, Bangabazar and Mirpur areas will remain closed until Eid.

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Aziz Super Market, Shahbagh and Palwal Market in Purana Paltan area will also remain closed, he told news agency UNB.

The authorities of Old Dhaka's Islampur Market, Chawkbazar, Keraniganj, Ayesha Market at Jatrabari, Dhanmondi’s Rapa Plaza, Dhaka New Super Market and shops at Elephant road areas in the capital city have decided to reopen the markets from today, he said.

Earlier, the authorities of Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, Jamuna Future Park, Dhaka's busiest New Market, Mouchak, Anarkoli markets have decided not to reopen businesses, Helal Uddin added.

In Sylhet, business leaders and owners decided to keep shopping malls and markets shut until Eid-ul-Fitr.

The decision was taken at a meeting on Friday attended by local business leaders and presided over by Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury.

Everybody agreed to keep their shops shut until Eid, they added.

"It's a big massage to the government,” said Sylhet Chambers of Commerce’s president Abu Taher Md Shoeb adding that life comes first.

In Chattogram, 11 shopping mall owners also decided to keep their businesses closed until 31 May in the city.

They took the decision at a meeting at Mimi Super Market attended by business leaders of the respective markets.

The markets will remain closed until 31 May are -- Sanmar Ocean City, Chittagong Shopping Complex, Finle Square Shop, Central Plaza, Amin Center, Afmi Plaza, Akhtaruzzaman Centre, Singapore-Bangkok Market, Kollol Super Market, and Mimi Super Market.

In Rajshahi, city corporation mayor AHM Khairuzzaman Liton, local police administration and local MP on Saturday evening decided to keep all the markets, shopping malls closed considering public health safety.

In Chandpur, deputy commissioner Md Majedur Rahman Khan in an emergency notice on Saturday night announced that shopping malls, markets, shops and businesses will remain shut until Eid as the new coronavirus cases are rising in the district.

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Stern actions will be taken against the businesses if they violate the directives, the DC wrote in an urgent notice on his personal Facebook wall at 8:15pm.

The decision was taken by the district coronavirus prevention committee, he wrote.

Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on Thursday asked city dwellers to complete their Eid shopping from markets located within two kilometres of their respective areas maintaining government declared timetable and hygiene.

The DMP also directed to install automatic disinfection tunnels or chambers at the entrance of every shopping mall. In addition, each store must have separate temperature measurement system.

The government on Tuesday allowed businesspeople to keep shops and malls open for six hours from 10:00am to 4:00pm every day from Sunday, after maintaining health guidelines during the general holidays.

Amid the surging new coronavirus cases, the government extended general holidays until 16 May. The government also decided to keep shut all the educational institutions in Bangladesh until 30 May.

Health minister Zahid Maleque on 5 May said it can be presumed that the infection rate will go up to some extent with the reopening of garment factories, shops and markets.

Health experts also warned that the reopening of shops and malls ahead of the Eid will lead to a rise in coronavirus cases.

Many people in Dhaka, opposed the business reopening move on their Facebook walls and promised that they will not go to the malls risking their lives while the authorities of two largest malls in the capital, Bashundhara City and Jamuna Future Park, decided not to reopen their markets.

Bangladesh has so far confirmed 13,770 coronavirus cases and 214 deaths.