10-day Closure for Coronavirus: Sales drop at bazaars around Dhaka | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 29, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:34 AM, March 29, 2020

10-day Closure for Coronavirus: Sales drop at bazaars around Dhaka

After the government shut down malls and banned unnecessary gatherings to contain the spread of coronavirus, people have also limited the number of trips to kitchen markets.

The bazaars were not ordered closed, but people are rarely leaving home now. According to traders, daily customer turnout has nearly halved from 150 on a normal day at bazaars, while meat sellers said number of customers has decreased to 20-30 per day from 40-50.

Visiting bazaars at Uttar Badda, Satarkul, Nurerchala and Middle Badda, this correspondent  spoke with traders about the business.

Md Rahim (60) was selling each kilogramme of pabda and tilapia at Tk 400 and Tk 200 at Satarkul. Even on Friday, his sales weren't satisfactory.

"Usually all fish would be sold out by 12pm, but  its 2pm now and I still have a lot left. If this continues I need to stop the business for a couple of days. Customer turnout is very low," lamented Rahim.

Same goes for vegetable seller Borhan Mia (60). He was waiting for customers at Uttar Badda kitchen market.   

"I am selling everything for the usual price: per kg brinjal at Tk 30, bean at Tk 50 and cucumber at Tk 25. But there are not enough people out buying vegetables," said Borhan.     

The situation persists at meat markets. Forty-year-old Rustom Ali, a butcher in Middle Badda, said, "On a normal day I'd sell five to six maunds of beef, but now it's difficult to sell just one maund." He was selling per kg of beef at Tk 550.

Most traders were seen wearing masks and gloves as a precautionary measure against coronavirus. They said magistrates and police are coming to check if they are maintaining precaution.

"We all bought these ourselves. We are letting no one else touch the meat as it might spread virus, instead we are helping them decide which cut of meat they want," said another butcher Rahamat Mia (40) in Nurerchala.  

As a precaution, some of the vegetable sellers have limited their movement, and aren't roaming around much further from their home.

"As the virus has spread, I am also worried. Therefore I am no longer going to different wards like I used to," said Md Shafique (35), who sells vegetable on a van in Badda area.

Regarding the price, customers didn't have much to complain about. 

"I thought price would decrease due to the current situation but it has stayed the same," said  Rakibul Haque.

"I am not buying everything here, just vegetables and spices. Not buying meats regularly, because for that I'd have to visit bazaar often, which I should avoid now," he added. 

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