Shoppers’ presence is very high during late afternoons in the shopping malls and markets, just before Iftar, they say
Shop owners and traders yesterday demanded they keep shopping malls and markets open until midnight, until Eid-ul-Fitr.
Their demand was sent in a letter from Bangladesh Dokan Malik Samity to the Prime Minister's Office on the day, which also said that if the closing hours were extended, it would reduce overall crowd presence and give everyone time to shop in peace.
That was why they demanded raising the closing time from 8:00pm to midnight.
The letter also said that although the current business hour of shops is from 10:00am to 8:00pm, shoppers usually finish their shopping from 3:00pm and 5:00pm, then return home to break their fast, as there is no opportunity to eat outside, given that most hotels and restaurants are closed.
On the other hand, most of the private offices close at 4:00pm, and they often find it difficult to shop within 5:30pm, they observed.
As a result, the shoppers’ presence is very high during late afternoons in the shopping malls and markets. Moreover, the malls are open for just an hour after Iftar.
After Iftar, the shop owners said that there was little to no shoppers in the markets. But if the deadline was extended, then people could come as per their convenient time, rather than everyone rushing at the same particular time.
The letter also said that as every market authority has taken steps to comply with the health directives, 95% people follow the rules by wearing masks.
Asking about the letter, Md Helal Uddin, president of Bangladesh Dokan Malik Samity, said: “It is tough to maintain social distance and manage huge crowds every afternoon. That is why we demanded this. We sent the letter for the wellbeing of both shoppers and traders.”
Moreover, there is less than two weeks remaining before Eid-ul-Fitr. In this situation, in the interest of the shoppers and sellers to abide by the proper hygiene rules, the demand was made to keep markets open until midnight, the letter added.
The government first imposed restrictions on movement from April 5 to contain coronavirus infections. As a result, all shops and businesses were closed.
As the situation got out of control, a “total lockdown” began from April 14 to 21 with stricter restrictions. Later the lockdown time was extended again.