Published:  02:20 AM, 08 April 2021

Permit re-opening of shops to avoid humanitarian crisis


From Asia to Africa, shopkeepers have taken the brunt of losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been staging protests to allow them to do business or else most will perish. The health restrictions or "lockdown" imposed by the government due to the alarming COVID-19 situation saw almost a normal life across Bangladesh, meaning that individuals are least bothered about getting infected and spreading the deadly virus.

With buses back on the streets to the joy of suffering commuters, we feel there should be a way out to save the shopkeepers, especially the small traders and footpath vendors. If they go hungry with their families, the nation will be faced with a major humanitarian crisis. It is with that humanity in mind the policymakers must put their heads together and take a firm one-time decision on the restrictions including those that involve the livelihood of the shopkeepers and their employees.

With Ramadan not far away, also means the biggest Muslim festival of Eid Al-Fitr is also knocking at the door. Ramadan and Eid means the hottest business time for Bangladesh. It also means giving festival bonuses for the employees. The festival will be a brief chance to spend some happy moments despite the pandemic, but without business bring in cash all will be lost.

Many shops in lanes and by-lanes have kept their business open, but those in New Market, Gausia and Jamuna Future Park shopping centres are fully shut. The shop owners and employees have been staging demonstration to allow them to keep their doors open for a fixed four hours daily with all health rules in place. With rest of our lives almost normal and buses back on the streets, it is only fair to look into their demand which is quite fair.

The policy makers can give four hours to different major shopping areas at different time of the day to avoid any rush across the cities. From 9 to 12 New Market then 12 to 4 pm Jamuna Future Park and so on. Just not at the same time. There might be even better options. What is important is to save these people and in turn save the country from a major humanitarian crisis.




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