Crowding of market places far from comforting
The presence of customers at the markets in the capital and elsewhere in the country is increasing day by day. The government eased the lockdown from May 10 and permitted traders to resume their businesses everyday from 10:00am to 4:00pm in view of the upcoming Eid, amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
That is why, on the one hand the rate of Covid-19 infection is increasing and on the other, the crowd in the market places is increasing phenomenally. The streets of Dhaka on Tuesday also witnessed a heavy crowd during the lockdown relaxation.
Visiting various parts of the capital it was seen that customers' presence got increased over the first day (May 10) of market reopening. Specially, markets of old Dhaka including Bangabazar, Chawkbazar, Islampur Market and Nawabpur Market got crowded like before and shops of Elephant Road got more customers than the first day of the reopening of shops. Besides, brand shop Aarong's outlets and Prince Bazar shopping complex of Mirpur was crowded with customers.
People are not maintaining personal hygiene and the rules of social distancing in most of the markets. Only some brand shops are trying to follow the personal hygiene and forcing customers to abide by the rules of social distancing and personal hygiene.
Ashikur Rahman, Deputy Manager of Prince Bazar, said, "We are confirming hand sanitization of every customer with hand sanitizer and measuring temperature at the entrance of our outlet. We don't allow anyone without facemask and hand gloves."
"If someone does not have a mask or hand gloves, we give it to him. We are frequently reminding customers in our outlet to maintain social distancing, at least 3 meters apart from each other," he added.
Mohammad Ashraful Alam, Chief Operating Officer of Aarong, told the Daily Observer, "The number of customers is increasing day by day. But, we are very strict on maintaining the personal hygiene and the rules of social distancing in our outlets."
However, people who came in Bangabazar, Chawkbazar and Islampur markets didn't maintain the health guidelines. Managing committees of those markets were indifferent to forcing customers to maintain social distancing and other health guidelines. People who come to these markets are at high risk of Covid-19 infection.
Habul Islam, a trader of Bangabazar, said, "We tell customers to maintain distance. Some people listen and some don't."
Arju Mia, a shopowner of Chawkbazar, said, "Most customers in our markets are illiterate and don't have proper knowledge about health issues. I am trying to maintain social distancing among customers who come to my shop."
Helal Uddin, President of the Bangladesh Shop Owners Association, in a video conference announced that the shops will be shut down if they don't maintain social distancing and health directives.
Meanwhile, because of overcrowding in town's markets Faridpur District Chamber of Commerce shut all shops of the town. And in many districts including Tangail law enforcement agencies took a hardline since people violated the social distancing rules.