The government has decided to allow shops and shopping malls to operate on a limited scale from tomorrow amid the complete lockdown considering the livelihood of a large number of people engaged in the sector.
The Cabinet Division issued a circular on Friday in this regard.As per the circular signed by its Deputy Secretary Md Rezaul Islam, shops and markets can remain open from 10:00am to 5:00pm every day subject to strict adherence to health guidelines.
Traders and shop owners also pledged to maintain health rules while their businesses are in operation.
The period before Eid-ul-Fitr is the peak season for traders when they make a large chunk of a year’s profits.
However, they had to suffer losses due to the long closure of shops and malls amid general holidays last year before the largest religious festival of Muslims last year.
Although markets reopened just before Eid last year on a limited scale, people did not throng those in large numbers for fear of lives amid the coronavirus pandemic, thus forcing traders to suffer huge losses.
So, the government has decided to allow reopening of shops and markets taking in consideration the livelihood of thousands of people engaged in the sector as well for the sake of economy.Management committees of the markets or organisations concerned will take necessary measures to ensure health guidelines, the circular said.
On Friday, representatives of Bangladesh Shop Owners’ Association had a meeting with the officials of the Ministry of Commerce over the reopening of shops and markets.
The complete lockdown which was enforced on April 14 initially for eight days has been extended by another week until April 28.
Earlier, the government enforced a weeklong lockdown on April 5 slapping restrictions on the movement of people and public transport and closing all shops and markets.
In the wake of protests by traders in different parts of the country, the government had allowed shops and shopping malls to operate on a limited scale for five days from April 9 before the complete lockdown started.
During the announcement of the extension of the complete lockdown, Road Transport and Bridges Minister and Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader had said the government was thinking about relaxing the rules and reopening of shopping malls maintaining health guidelines before Eid-ul-Fitr.