The government started allowing some restaurants to reopen conditionally from April 27
Although restaurants in Dhaka city have been reopened amid the growing coronavirus cases, most of them, even the famous ones, hardly follow the health guidelines set by the government, putting the diners at the risk of the virus infection.
The government issued a set of guidelines to be strictly followed by hotels and restaurants following their reopening after one month of closure to prevent the transmission of Covid-19.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) issued the guidelines on health safety measures on May 2 for offices, institutions, establishments, including restaurants, to prevent further spread of the deadly virus.
According to the health guidelines, a thermal scanner at the entrances of each restaurant is mandatory to measure the temperature of customers while dining tables need to be disinfected every time after use.
Visiting several popular restaurants in the city’s Mirpur, Gulshan, Moghbazar and Khilgaon areas, the UNB correspondents found no thermal scanner at the entrance points of those.
Besides, no one was available to sanitize diners’ hands and even there was no arrangement of disinfectants at the entrances.
However, dining tables were seen placed with a safe distance so that diners could follow social distancing.
Restaurants in the city
Kacchi Bhai is a restaurant which has five branches and one of them is situated at Mirpur-10.
When his attention was drawn to the absence of disinfectant, sanitizer and thermal scanner at the entrance of the restaurant, Rafiqul Islam Koyel, manager of Mirpur Branch of Kacchi Bhai, said: “We’ve everything to maintain hygiene but now those arrangements are not available as we’ve just opened the restaurant.”
When his attention was drawn to the scenes where people were taking lunch already, he did not make any comment.
Sayed Alam, a private farm official who was taking lunch with his family members at the restaurant, said: “Though I always carry hand sanitizer for my safety, it’s the responsibility of restaurant authorities to ensure everything to maintain government announced health guidelines.”
“We’ve been here with my family members to take lunch for the first time today since the countrywide shutdown was imposed on March 26. I preferred visiting a well-known restaurant with an idea that popular restaurants are following health guidelines properly,” he added.
Visiting Rabbani Hotel and Restaurant at Mirpur-10 Jote Patti Road, the UNB correspondent saw the same scenario.
“No sanitizer, no thermal scanner, no disinfectant was available at the entrance of the restaurant. The restaurant manager, Abu Saleh, said the number of customers is very thin. Sanitizer is available at the cash counter. Handwashing facility is also there,” he claimed.
Premium Sweets, a very popular restaurant at Gulshan-2 circle, also had no arrangement for disinfectants, thermal scanner and sanitizers at the entrance.
Contacted, Head of Corporate Affairs of the Canadian restaurant Mahbubur Rahman Bakul admitted that though they had all the facilities as per the health guidelines, those were not available at the entrance at that moment.
Regretting it, he said even though they have given instructions to strictly follow the health guidelines, the people concerned are not following that.
Visiting Bharta Bhat, a renowned restaurant at Moghbazar crossing, and Dhaka Hotel restaurant at Khilgaon Tilpapara, the correspondent found no arrangement there for the health safety of diners.
On March 8, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) announced for the first time the detection of three Covid-19 patients in Bangladesh. Later, the IEDCR reported the first death due to the deadly virus infection on March 18.
Against the backdrop of increasing the number of Covid-19 patients and death cases, the government announced countrywide general holidays from March 26 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 infection. Later, it was extended several times and finally, the countrywide general holidays were withdrawn from June 1.
The government started allowing some restaurants to reopen conditionally from April 27. Considering the pandemic, many restaurants are yet to reopen in the capital.
There are around 30,000 small and big restaurants in the country, including 8,000 in Dhaka, according to Bangladesh Restaurant Owners' Association (BROA).