The closure will continue till August 5 to contain the rising Covid-19 infections
All factories have been ordered to close operations after the end of Eid from July 23 for 14 days.
The closure will continue till August 5 to contain the rising rate of Covid-19, said the Cabinet Division in a notification on Tuesday.
It also said that ongoing restrictions will be relaxed on Wednesday midnight, until 6:00am of July 23.
The relaxed directives were issued to conduct trade and other economic activities ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, to be held on July 21.
From July 23, all kinds of industries, including apparel factories, which mostly remained out of the purview of lockdown, will also remain closed, the notification said.
Export-oriented factories, including apparel factories, were allowed to operate amid the lockdown issued earlier this year.
Apart from all the industries, all shopping malls, markets, tourist spots, resorts, community centres and recreational centres will also remain closed.
Talking to Dhaka Tribune, SM Mannan Kochi, senior vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) said that now they are in a dilemma.
There have been a lot of purchase orders in the last few months, at the same time, the situation of Covid-19 is getting worse in the country, he added.
He also said that closing of the factories for two weeks will affect the sector, there will be a big loss and many buyers may cancel orders.
But the people of the country must be kept safe from the Delta variant of the Covid-19 too, he added.
“Country, people and the economy — all three sing the same tune. So, tomorrow [July14], we will have a meeting with our former presidents, and all the other stakeholders where we will try to find a possible way that is amicable for all,” he added.
However, union leaders think that if the garment factories are closed for 14 days, it will not have much effect as it will take a while for production to start in full swing after Eid holidays.
Babul Akhtar, chairman of Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF), said factories would be fully operational between July 29 and August 1 after Eid.
“In this case, if it is closed till August 5, there will not be much impact on exports,” he added.
However, he demanded that if the lockdown is extended again after August 5, the transport restrictions should be relaxed so that the garment workers can return to their factories from their native villages without any harassment.
“The government will have to monitor that the wages of the workers are not deducted if the factories are closed,” said the BGIWF chairman.
According to some entrepreneurs of the RMG sector, the United States and the European Union (EU) are returning to normalcy due to the large number of people being vaccinated against coronavirus.
As a result, brands and buyers are expecting good sales in the coming summer and spring seasons, leading to a lot of orders.
Moreover, some procurement orders have been shifted to Bangladesh due to the military rule in Myanmar and the worsening Covid-19 situation in India, they said.
Earlier, the government decided to allow apparel factories to remain operational during the strict lockdown that started from July 1.