Bangladesh eases lockdown restrictions for businesses in some parts
Dhaka/UNI: Bangladesh has eased the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the COVID-19 spread by allowing some of the businesses to reopen in different parts of the country like Dhaka and Chattogram, an official said on Sunday.
Dilshad Begum deputy commissioner (DC) told UNI that Rajbari districts have reopened a wide range of shops, while some kept their businesses shut due to dilemma amid virus fear.
All the business people 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 coronavirus.
Most shopping malls in the capital will remain closed for now considering the present coronavirus situation, according to Bangladesh Shop Owners Association (BSOA).
BSOA 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.
Aziz Super Market, Shahabagh and Palwal Market in old Paltan area will also remain closed. he told UNI.
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 area in the 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, Anarkali markets have decided not to reopen, Helal Uddin added.
In Sylhet city, 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 message to the government, said Sylhet Chambers of Commerce’s President Abu Taher Md Shoeb, adding that life comes first.
In Chattogram city, 11 shopping mall owners also decided to keep their businesses closed until May 31 in the city.
They decided at a meeting at Mimi Super Market attended by business leaders of the respective markets.
The markets that will remain closed until May 31 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 A H M 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 raising in the district. Stern actions will be taken against the businesses if they violate the directives, DC wrote in an urgent notice on his personal Facebook wall.
The decision was taken by the district coronavirus prevention the 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 the government declared timetable and hygiene.
The DMP also directed to install automatic disinfection tunnels or chambers at the entrance of every shopping mall. Besides, each store must have separate temperature measurement system.
The government on Tuesday allowed businesspeople to keep shops and shopping malls open for six hours from 1000 to 1600 hrs every day from Sunday, after maintaining health guidelines during the general holidays.
Amid the surging new coronavirus cases, the government extended general holidays until May 16. The government also decided to keep shut all the educational institutions in Bangladesh until May 30.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Tuesday 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 shopping malls ahead of Eid will lead to a rise in coronavirus cases.
Meanwhile, many people in Dhaka opposed the business reopening move on their Facebook walls and promised that they will not go to shopping malls risking their lives while the authorities of the two largest shopping 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.