The Bangladesh Shop Owners Association has sought permission to keep shops and shopping malls open 14 hours from 10am onwards in the interest of maintaining proper hygiene and social distancing for shoppers, shop owners, and employees.
In a letter on Sunday, the shop owners' association requested the Prime Minister to allow shops and shopping malls to remain open till 12am midnight.
Helal Uddin Ahmed, president of the shop owners' association, confirmed the matter to The Business Standard today.
They argued that in the ongoing 'lockdown', markets and shops are open from 10am to 8pm, but many shoppers usually wrap up their shopping between 3pm and 5pm to have Iftar at home. Because all hotels and restaurants are closed, there is no opportunity to break one's fast away from home.
On the other hand, private offices close at 4 o'clock. People go shopping till 5:30pm and the pressure of buyers and crowding in the markets increases. People often have to end up breaking their fast at home as late as 7pm.
Even though the market is open till 8 o'clock, no one comes to the market for the remaining one hour, leaving hardly any customers in hand.
Experts on various talk shows have suggested that if markets and shops are kept open from 10 am to 12 midnight, there will be less crowding and more social distancing from 3pm to 5pm. People will have the opportunity to shop after Iftar with more time in hand.