Ramadan In The Time Of Covid-19

Silence at traditional Iftar markets

ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman

19 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Silence at traditional Iftar markets

Maintaining social distancing, few fasting people throng a restaurant at Chawkbazar in Old Dhaka on Sunday, the fourth day of the holy Ramadan, to buy iftar items. —SUN photo

The traditional iftar market at different restaurants, hotels and roadside shops in the capital has remained almost quite due to the strict lockdown imposed to contain a surge in coronavirus infections.  

Restaurants and makeshift food shops in Dhaka drew huge crowds before the iftar time during Ramadan every year. A wide variety of traditional local iftar delights was displayed at different restaurants, hotels and roadside shops in the capital from the first day of Ramadan.

But the scenario has changed due to Covid-19 outbreak. Iftar items are no longer put on show at restaurants, hotels and temporary shops.

Sohidul Islam, manager of Star Kabab Hotel & Restaurant at Thathari Bazar Wari, said it has now been difficult for them to run their restaurant as the sale of iftar items has drastically fallen due to lockdown during Ramadan.

“Each year, we witnessed huge sale during Ramadan, but the number of customers has decreased due to the corona restrictions imposed by the government,” he said.

Almost all outside and makeshift shops of iftar items in all parts of the capital have remained closed due to the government’s restriction.

Restaurateurs said they are suffering the setbacks due to the shortage of staff and the ban on display of iftar foods on pavements. 

The month of Ramadan has arrived amidst unprecedented curbs on public movement and trades as a vast number of the population are staying at home to avoid infection.

Though the government has allowed the restaurants and hotels to sell iftar delicacies from 12:00am to 7:00pm and 12:00pm to 6:00am only through takeaway and online service but most of the eateries have been closed due to lower presence of consumers.

Huge number of people gathered at the historic iftar market in capital's Chawkbazar each year but this year the market is alsomost quite amid lockdown.

People throng the centurial market every Ramadan to buy various iftar items that are unique in taste and shape, but not this time.

Most of the restaurants, different shop owners and also the 5-star hotels did not offer iftar delicacies this year and no special arrangement was seen.

While visiting different area in the capital on Sunday, the charm of the iftar sale was found absent. Some traders prepared limited items of traditional iftar in shops but the number of buyers was so thin.

Aminul Haque, a businessman at Mohammadpur, was seen bought 2 kg Halim and some iftar items from Taj kitchen at Taj Mahal Road in Mohammadpur.

“We had been consuming homemade iftar items for last four days,” he said.

“In fear of coronovirus infection, we don’t go outside without emergency,” he added. 

Fasting city dwellers eagerly snapped up  the traditional iftar items from the first day of Ramadan with an extra flavor but this time most of them don’t go outside in fear of virus infection and government restriction.