• Monday, Sep 27, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:40 pm

High turnout at shopping malls, amid high Covid-19 infection rate

  • Published at 08:38 pm April 27th, 2021
Shoppers shopping in Chandni Chawk, Dhaka 9 April 2021
Shoppers crowd the entrance of Chandni Chawk market in the New Market area, looking at and buying products on display, as the markets reopen in Dhaka amid the ongoing week-long lockdown on Friday, April 9, 2021 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

But shop owners, traders say number of visitors unsatisfactory

Numerous shopping malls are relieved as lots of people were seen visiting the markets after they reopened on April 25.

Visiting several shopping malls across the capital, it was seen that there were a lot of shoppers in the malls in spite of the surging Covid-19 infection rates.

The shop owners and traders, however, claim the numbers are "insignificant."

“There would have been more if the public transportation resumed as well,” they said, despite the high rate of Covid infections currently. 

However, they are optimistic about their sales by Eid-ul-Fitr, as well as recuperating their losses caused during Pohela Boishakh by the lockdown, after seeing this crowd, a few days into the reopening of the shopping malls.

However, the shopping mall authorities and shopkeepers have taken separate initiatives to comply with the health directives amid massive crowds. 

Most of the shoppers were found to be aware and complying with the directives.

Visiting Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, one of the prime destinations of shoppers in the capital, a large number of shoppers were present there. 

Shop owners said that the number of shoppers will increase after Iftar, as shops can now remain open until 9:00pm.

Mall authorities have set up disinfection tunnels at the entrance, as well as a sanitizer system, mandatory for every visitor. No one is allowed to enter without a mask.

Moreover, on each floor, volunteers of shopping malls are monitoring whether the shoppers are following the hygiene rules. They also urge people to follow the rules of hygiene through a handheld microphone.

An official of Mustafa Mart, an international chain departmental store, said shoppers have been flocking since the shopping mall reopened. 

"We also emphasize hygiene norms. We only allow buyers to enter the shops after checking the temperature. They also make sure that there is not too much crowd inside. If the flow of shoppers continues like this, we are hopeful that we will be able to meet our sales target," he said.

A representative of Infinity, another lifestyle departmental store, said the number of shoppers was still low as public transport was closed. 

"We have buyers from all levels of society. Many do not have private cars, so they cannot come. However, if public transport is resumed, the number of buyers will increase. Hopefully after 20th Ramadan, we will get our desired number of buyers, and subsequently our sales will also increase."

A representative of Jotey Sharee said that although the number of buyers has increased, it is not as expected. 

However, the number of customers that are coming is not less, considering the pandemic situation. More buyers will come when the situation is somewhat normal, he added.

The same crowd has been seen in other fashion stores, shoe stores and even in gadget shops of Bashundhara City mall.

Rabiul Alam, a shopper from Mirpur, said that his family usually completes their shopping for the whole year ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr. 

Now the situation is not normal due to the pandemic. Even then, they had to come because they needed new clothes.

Most of the buyers are coming to shopping malls by private cars, rickshaw or CNG-run autorickshaws.

A buyer from Azimpur, requesting anonymity, came to Bashundhara City to buy some sarees. 

She also said that there are always some new collections in the shops ahead of Eid. So she opted out of ordering online and waited until the malls reopened.

Almost the same picture has been seen in shops in Elephant Road area of the capital, and other shopping malls including Rapa Plaza of Dhanmondi.

The government decided to close the shopping malls and stores during strict lockdown started on April 14.

Despite the lockdown until April 28, the government announced its decision to keep the shopping malls open until 5 pm on Sunday, and later the time to keep the shop open was extended to 9 pm.

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