Many markets, malls likely to remain closed


Although the government allows markets and shopping malls across the country to reopen from May 10, traders in different parts think of keeping their shops closed with a view to containing the spread of coronavirus.

The authorities of Bashundhara City Shopping Complex and Jamuna Future Park, two leading shopping malls in the capital, have decided that the markets would not reopen before the Eid-ul-Fitr for shopping.

The traders of New Market, one of the largest commercial shopping markets in the capital for the middle-class people, also decided not to reopen their markets before the Eid. Sources said that the authorities of Chandrima Super Market also decided that the market would not reopen before Eid.

A large number of shoppers usually throng the two shopping malls and the two markets for buying clothes and other items before Eid. The important shopping malls and market will remain closed until the Covid-19 situation improves in the country.

Traders in different other parts of the country are thinking like Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, Jamuna Future Park and New Market authorities.

The government on May 4 decided for reopening markets and shops. According to the government’s decision, “markets, shops and shopping malls will remain open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day from May 10 maintaining health guidelines, and shopping malls will have to make arrangements for hand-washing at their entrances.”

Although some traders are not in favour of reopening their markets, Bangladesh Shop Owners Association had long been pressing the government to open shops and malls as traders are hard pressed due to the prolonged shutdown. 

President of the association Helal Uddin said that the decision to open malls ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious festival of Muslim community, would help both traders and shoppers. He, however, called upon the shop owners to maintain social distancing and hygiene rules during business hours.

 MA Hannan Azad, president of the Bashundhara Shopping Mall Shop Owners' Association, said that it was quite impossible to maintain social distance during business hours. Considering the situation, the shopping mall authorities and the shop owners decided not to reopen Bashundhara City before Eid. 

Some traders believe that life is more important than trade. They want to survive. So they are not in favour of reopening their shops and markets to save them from Covid-19.  

Some traders said that people are struggling financially with the consequences of Covid-19 spread. Against this backdrop, the presence of customers will very thin in the shopping malls and markets which will be one of the reasons for losses of traders. 

Dewan Aminul Islam,  president of the New Market Shop Owners Association, on Wednesday said that the executive committee of the market decided not to reopen the market before Eid, fearing that people would not visit the market for Eid shopping amid the pandemic.

 A shop owner of City Heart Market in the capital said a few number of customers would visit the market also for absence of public transport. So the traders will count losses, he added.  Some shop owners in Sylhet expressed their hesitation over the reopening of their shops before Eid.

Kabir Hossain, a businessman of Karim Ullah Market in Sylhet city, said that many people left the city for their villages in March after announcement of holidays.  Many of the people, who are still staying in the city, are facing financial problem. Many other won’t come out of their residences for coronavirus. Against this backdrop, traders will get a few number of customers if they open their shops, he added.  

 He also said traders of many markets and shopping malls in Sylhet city are thinking to take decision like New Market of Dhaka. “Alongside our lives, the lives of people are more important. We are against reopening of market,” he said.

 Meanwhile, three organisations at Chakaria in Cox’s Bazar on Thursday (May 7) announced of forging movement if the markets and shopping malls are opened there, calling upon the authorities concerned not to allow markets and shopping malls in Chakaria before the Eid to combat the coronavirus.

 The three organisations-- Swadhin Mancha, Kaler Kantha Shuvasangha and Office Finder-- submitted a memorandum to Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Cox’s Bazar through Upazila Nirbahi Officer and OC on Thursday.

 Coordinator of Swadhin Mancha Khairul Bashar Sohel said that they will observe sit-in programme in front of Chiringi Station Market if the shopping malls and markets are opened in the present situation.