After an 11-day all-out lockdown, shopping malls and stores across the country reopened on Sunday but sales were low and most of the shop workers were busy cleaning their shops in the capital.
Traders said there were some customers in the afternoon but sales were small. They said customers usually come to shops after the evening during Ramadan but the markets are closed after 5pm. If shops can be kept open a little longer, the sales are likely to increase.
Besides, some customers and businessmen think that customers cannot come to the shops as the public transport is closed, which is also a reason for sluggishness in sales.
Meanwhile, the government decided to allow stores and shopping malls to remain open till 9pm in Dhaka city to be effective from today (Monday), Helal Uddin, president of Bangladesh Shop Owners' Association, told The Business Standard (TBS), quoting Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Shafiqul Islam.
Shop owners and businessmen have welcomed the decision and they are hopeful to have good sales ahead of Eid.
Abul Kalam Azad, the owner of Baby's Gallery at Bashundhara Shopping Centre, told TBS that customers usually come to markets after having iftar when the shops have to close as per the government directive.
Enayet Hossain, a shopkeeper at Shatak Sari House in Eastern Plaza, told TBS, "Our business is in a very bad state due to the lockdown. If public transport does not resume and the need for movement pass is not relaxed, customers will not increase."
M Sujan, proprietor of Al-Amin Store in Mouchak Market, told TBS, "We'll surely benefit from opening the shop even though there are no customers now; they will come before Eid."
Fahad, manager of mobile phone company Vivo at Bashundhara City, told TBS that the crowd was normal on Sunday. However, the sales were not good.
The situation is the same in Chattogram.
Jafor Ahmed, owner of a shop in Moti Shopping Complex in the port city, said, "My workers and customers told me that they had problems while coming to the market due to lack of transport. Moreover, if we have to close the market after 5pm, we have very little time for business."
After the opening of markets, crowds of shoppers flocked to various markets in Khulna to shop ahead of Eid. But even though all the markets and shops were supposed to comply with the health rules, they did not adhere.
The presence of buyers in the markets in Rajshahi was like any other normal time. Traders say sales were not high on the first day.
Although shopping malls are empty in Sylhet, crowds have been seen on the city streets. Traffic jams were witnessed in Zindabazar and Bandarbazar, the main commercial areas of the city, on Sunday afternoon.
Abdur Rahman Ripon, the president of the Sylhet Metropolitan Businessmen's Association has welcomed the government's decision to allow the opening of shopping malls, which will benefit traders-employees-buyers.
Traders in Bogura said that there is no alternative to opening shops now. The number of customers was low at the beginning of the day but buyer turnout increased over time.
With the opening of shopping malls in Rangpur, the situation of roads and markets has also become normal. However, traders claim that the sales in the market are much less than before.
Crowd on Dhaka roads, social distancing, health hygiene ignored
On the 12th day of the "strict" lockdown, many vehicles except public buses were seen on Shahbagh, Kataban, Nilkhet, Banglamator and Karwan Bazar areas in the capital along with long traffic congestions at some places.
Many CNG-auto rickshaws were seen carrying even four passengers while the capacity is for three passengers.
Some privately owned cars were seen carrying passengers too as there was an acute crisis of public transport in the capital.
However, Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said that the government has to impose strict lockdown again if the health hygiene rules are not followed in public transport after lifting the ongoing lockdown.
On Saturday, he also said that the public transportation might be resumed from 29 April after the two weeks' strict lockdown.
Earlier this month, the government imposed strict restrictions across the country due to an increase in coronavirus infections and deaths. A week-long strict lockdown has been imposed across the country since 14 April, which was extended for another week.