Overshadowed by the coronavirus outbreak, the Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest religious festival of the Muslims, will be celebrated this year in a setting unlike anything the world has ever seen as worries and silence replace joy and festivities.
Though the government allowed reopening of businesses including shopping malls from May 10 on a limited scale, many people are still in doubt about maintaining health guidelines including social and physical distancing at shopping malls.
"Is it essential to do Eid shopping this year? I don't think so. We’ve some relatives who’ll rather be happy to get some financial support. From our family, we’ll do that. That's the plan," one Misbahul Haque told Dhaka Courier sharing his plan.
Haque, the youngest of a eleven-member family, said Eid brings joys but amid the coronavirus outbreak, they have no feelings of joy. "I don't feel like that an Eid is approaching. How can I feel like going for shopping when I’m upset over the current situation?"
Shopping malls, all types of shops and other businesses would remain open from 10am to 4pm every day. The government said people should stay at their present locations during the Eid holidays and not travel to their homes in other districts and upazilas.
The government decided to allow shopping malls, shops and other businesses remain open maintaining health guidelines during the general holiday considering Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr.
"We’re going through a very hard time, but it’s harder for the poor and the lower middle class people. We all should come forward to help them in any way we can," Tahmid Binte Jashim, a medical student, told Dhaka Courier.
Since the announcement came about reopening of shopping malls, many were seen sharing their thoughts on Facebook.
"Can't we celebrate Eid this time without shopping? We don't want Eid shopping. We want to get back to normal life," Nilufer Yasmin wrote on Facebook.
Tahmid, who used to go shopping with her father and two younger brothers every year, said they will miss roaming around malls for desired outfits. "But I don't think it's a wise decision to keep the shopping malls open when people are not following social or physical distancing."
She said the country is already getting many COVID-19 positive patients though they did not show any symptoms.
"That means we have asymptomatic patients. So, what’ll happen if an asymptomatic patient or carrier goes to shopping mall for shopping or one of the sellers is carrier?," said the medical student.
Tk 1,100 Crore Loss Each Day
Bangladesh Dokan Malik Samity (Bangladesh Shop Owners Association) President Helal Uddin said they already spoke to officials of the Commerce Ministry and Police department about the government conditions of reopening businesses.
"We will follow the guidelines and will further discuss the preparation before reopening on May 10," he said.
Also read: Shops, shopping malls can operate 10am-4pm: Ministry
Given the evolving situation over COVID-19 across Bangladesh, mall operators and their retailers are facing losses.
"We are counting Tk 1,100 core loss each day in the country due to current closure," Helal Uddin told Dhaka Courier.
He said they are heading towards a new world and everybody is taking own approach to survive. "We’re trying to keep everyone safe through joint efforts. We need to think of employment too."
Helal said he is discussion with all across the country to assess who can and cannot maintain the guidelines with adequate precautions and people.
He said they are aware of risk both for shoppers and shop owners.
But buying and selling will continue through online platforms.
Bangladesh recorded 13 deaths on May 6 showing an unexpected rise in the number of Covid-19 fatalities after over a week of single digit. The death toll now stands 199.