In the wake of protests by traders in different parts of the country, the government has decided to allow shops and shopping malls to operate on a limited scale for five days from today subject to strict adherence to health guidelines.
The Cabinet Division issued a circular on Thursday in this regard.As per the circular, all stores and markets can operate from 9:00am to 5:00pm every day till April 13.
Legal action will be taken if health guidelines are not followed, it said.
In an effort to contain the coronavirus transmission, the government enforced a weeklong lockdown on Monday, slapping restrictions on the movement of people and public transport and closing all shops and markets.
The corona curbs will remain in force until April 11 midnight.
However, factories are open with employees working in shifts following hygiene rules.
The government allowed operations of public transport in Dhaka and other city corporation areas from Wednesday, two days after the lockdown was imposed.Meanwhile, the movement of different modes of transport, including buses, was almost normal in the capital on Thursday, the fourth day of the lockdown.
But except the peak office hours, most of the buses were seen plying on different city streets with a fewer number of passengers.
Without any emergency work, common people are not coming out of their residences, many transport workers pointed out. At the same time, many government and private officials are using vehicles arranged by their offices for the travel.
Besides, many others are travelling by different small vehicles, including private cars, microbuses, CNG-run auto-rickshaws and even motorbikes, to avoid the public transport, many believed.
Meanwhile, people were still seen moving around breaching health protocols.
Many were seen gossiping at tea stalls and having food at eateries without wearing masks.
At many grocery shops, shopkeepers and salespersons were not wearing masks. Even some customers were seen outside without masks.
Shopkeepers in a number of areas, including Farmgate and Karwan Bazar, were seen selling products secretly even after closing time.
Earlier, amid the sharp rise in coronavirus infections following a gradual downward trend for nearly three months, the government issued an 18-point directive, limiting all kinds of public gatherings and making a 14-day quarantine for new arrivals from abroad mandatory, to chase away the virus.
Bangladesh also imposed a ban on all travellers’ entry into the country from all European countries, excluding the UK, and 12 other countries for two weeks.
After the outbreak of the virus globally, the government on March 23 last year declared a 10-day general holiday for all public and private offices, except emergency services, from March 26 to check it. Later, it was extended in few phases until May 30.