Rashedul Islam, a showroom manager in Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, passes a hectic time, especially on holidays. But yesterday he idled away his working hours as very few customers showed up due to the coronavirus scare.
Friday is the busiest day for the shop owners and their employees in markets across the country as people usually go shopping on this day. But yesterday, most of the shoppers avoided crowded marketplaces.
Rashedul, Bangladeshi fashion brand Richman's showroom manager, said: "Number of customers at my showroom has decreased by 40 percent in the last few days after three people tested positive for the infectious virus in the country. It is a bad sign for us. We wait for Friday as we sell the most on this day."
Visiting different markets in the city, our correspondent found that there were not many customers, except some young people moving around.
The shop owners said their businesses were going well just before coronavirus scare hit Bangladesh. But their activities are now slowing down every day. The number of customers declined by 70-80 percent on Friday compared to one during regular time.
Aysha Chowdhury, a private job holder, told The Business Standard that she had planned to go to the city's Polwel Market but cancelled the plan to escape coronavirus.
"Polwel gets very crowded on Fridays. We can go shopping later, but we need to save our lives first."
Omar Faraque, assistant manager of Fardeen Leather at New Market, said, "People are panicking over coronavirus. The familiar busy picture at the market has dramatically changed."
"Usually, I have tough times handling a large number of customers. Friday is the busiest day for us. But today, we are searching for customers.''
Kamal Uddin, a banker who went to New Market, said: "I came here to buy a tiffin box and some other utensils as it was urgent."
Sourav, a readymade garments brand at Aziz Super Market, produced a large number of T-shirts and polo-shirts targeting the summer. But the brand is now in big trouble as the wholesalers are not buying their products.
"We usually target the month of March and April. But if the current situation prevails, we would certainly face losses."
Rubel Hossain, senior manager of Apex Footwear Limited in Bashundhara City Shopping Complex, told The Business Standard that the company's overall sale had not been good for some time, and the coronavirus made it worse.
"How will the company pay us if the market situation is not good?"