Business owners are in a dilemma as they want to recoup their losses from the Covid-19 shutdown but do not want to spread the virus
The government has decided to reopen markets and shopping malls from Sunday, on a limited scale, adhering to health guidelines. Many shop owners have supported the decision, considering the economy ahead of Eid; while others have said they will not reopen their stores, considering the potential health risks to the public.
The capital's Bashundhara Shopping Complex and Jamuna Future Park have already decided not to reopen before Eid.
Our correspondents have reported that many shops in various districts have already reopened.
Majority supports shops reopening
Businessmen in Bogura, Barguna, Barishal, Chuadanga, Jashore, Netrokona, Rangpur, Satkhira, Mymensingh, Cox's Bazar, Rajshahi and Narayanganj have decided to reopen markets from Sunday. Many markets have been disinfected for this purpose.
Khulna New Market, one of the most popular shopping malls in the city, remains crowded with customers during Eid.
Khulna New Market Shop Owners Association secretary Abdul Gaffar Bishwash said, "As per the government's directive, we have decided to open the market from Sunday, maintaining all health standards, both for sellers and buyers. The market is being cleaned with disinfectant."
Meanwhile, businessmen from Barishal said they had suffered losses since Pahela Boishakh as they had bought many products which remained unsold. They hope they will be able to recover the losses during Eid sales.
Barishal Chamber of Commerce secretary Saidur Rahman Rintu said the shop owners said they would open markets on a limited scale and maintain the Covid-19 safety guidelines.
Mymensingh Chamber of Commerce and Industries assistant secretary Shankar Saha said the chamber had a meeting with 40 market committees in the city and decided to open the markets from Sunday.
However, businessmen may keep their shops closed, if they want to, he added.
Many against reopening markets
The Naya Sarak Businessmen Association, in Sylhet, on Thursday decided to reopen markets too, said the secretary of the association Mahiuddin Ahmed Selim.
Sylhet City Businessmen Welfare Association secretary Makhon Mia said most of the shop owners do not want to open their shops, as it would pose more of a risk of spreading the virus.
Like Sylhet, many other market-based-associations in Chattogram, Brahmanbaria and Dinajpur decided not to open their shops.
Dilemma in opening shops
Bandarban Businessmen Welfare and Unity Council general secretary Abu Saleh Chowdhury said the council has not yet decided whether the markets will reopen.
A decision will be taken after discussing the matter with 13 business associations in the district.
The situation is the same in Rangamati, Lakshmipur and Moulvibazar.
Moulvibazar Businessmen Forum general secretary Shahadat Hossain said they were yet to decide on reopening the markets.
"Considering the situation of the businessmen, the shops should be reopened; but if we think about the health risks, we should not reopen the markets. People's lives are more important to us than the economy," he added.
Shops already reopened in some districts
Many shops in Pabna and Gazipur have already reopened and are crowded with customers – which poses a threat of spreading Covid-19.
Pabna Mahtab Shopping Complex owner Jayed Hasan said most of their businessmen run their businesses with loans. "They are in great financial distress due to the lockdown. So, we cannot stop them if they want to reopen their shops," he added.
Small shops in Jaidevpur Bazar area have reopened and have a good number of customers, said Ashit Kumar, owner of Anto Telecom in the area.