The government in an 18-point directive on Monday discouraged all fairs and exhibitions in the current Covid-19 situation
Bangla Academy has reduced the daily duration of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair by an hour to comply with the government’s instructions to curb the spread of Covid-19 amid surging daily infections and fatalities.
Confirming the matter, Bangla Academy Director (Sales, Marketing and Reprint) Dr Jalal Ahmed, also member secretary of the fair organizing committee, told this correspondent the decision was taken after a meeting of the committee on Tuesday.
“The government instructed to discourage fairs of all kinds, not to shut them down. We have brought the closing time of the fair forward from 9pm to 8pm to comply with the decision of the government. As a result, people will be able to return home before 10pm,” he said.
The fair opens at 3pm from Sunday to Thursday, and at 11am on weekends and public holidays.
The government on Monday imposed a set of 18 new restrictions considering the rising number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country. The restrictions limit public gatherings at tourist spots, cinema halls and theatres, while also discouraging fairs and exhibitions of all kinds.
The notification, signed by prime minister's Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus, also said that unnecessarily roaming and gathering must be stopped and no one should go outdoors after 10pm except in case of emergency.
Dr Jalal Ahmed said: “If the government does not order to stop the fair and the situation does not deteriorate, we will continue till the stipulated time while maintaining health protocols.”
Habibullah Siraji, director general of Bangla Academy, in January told journalists an end date for the fair was yet to be fixed. In previous years, it would run for a month in February.
He added that there are plans to end the fair before the start of Ramadan on April 13.
As many as 112 new books arrived at the fair on Tuesday.