Eid shopping in BD gains pace at the cost of social distancing

People out on Eid shopping at markets and shops in Dhaka are too reluctant about maintaining the recommended physical distance to protect themselves and others from coronavirus infection.Traders said they frequently request customers to maintain the health guidelines but their words fall on deaf ears.

While visiting several city markets on Friday, this correspondent saw hundreds of people flocking to different shops at Dhanmondi Hawkers Market, Noor Mansion Shopping Centre, New Super Market, shops at Elephant Road, Gulistan, Lalbagh Fort and footpaths.

Even though most people were wearing masks, they were ignoring the physical distance guideline.Amena Begum, 35, from Azimpur area said she bought clothes and cosmetics for her family members from Noor Mansion Shopping Centre and New Super Market.“We’re wearing masks,” she said. “We came to the market as many others are. Besides, we need to buy things before Eid.”

Billal Hossain, a trader at Dhanmondi Hawkers Market, said many customers are just too reluctant. “We request customers to stand at a certain distance from each other but they don’t listen to us. We also force them to use sanitiser before entering shops,” he added.

Talking to UNB, Shahid Ullah Shahid, president of New Super Market Traders Association, said they try to maintain social distancing guidelines but customers are not aware.

“We can force our traders but we can’t do it with customers. We set checking system at the front gate of the market and also kept sanitiser. Besides, we make announcement over loudspeakers to remain alert here,” he added. Shahid Ullah said the government should provide all protective gears.

“We don’t get a chance to buy them. So, it’ll be a great help if the government provides them,” he said, requesting the government to waive electricity bills and fare of city corporations.

‘Strictly maintaining physical distancing rules’

But there are some shops that managed to force customers maintain physical distance to some extent.Rafe Sadnan Adel, spokesperson of BRAC, said every customer has to register before entering their outlets. Everyone’s temperature is checked at gates.

“Our customers have to maintain social distance guidelines as we permit a limited number of customers at our outlets. All outlets of Aarong are open maintaining government directives,” he added.

Amirul Islam, manager of Easy Fashion Ltd on Elephant road branch, told UNB that they too are properly following the government guidelines.

“We force customers to use masks and wash hands at the gates. Then we allow a limited number of persons at our outlet. We don’t allow more than 20 customers at a time here to maintain social distancing. On normal days, around 100 customers could visit our shop at a time,” he added.

The government earlier allowed businesses to keep shops and shopping malls open for six hours from 10am to 4pm every day. The government has decided to reopen markets before Eid-ul Fitr to keep the country’s economy moving ensuring the health safety during the general holidays.Meanwhile, Bangladesh confirmed 22,268 coronavirus cases and 328 deaths.

source: UNB