On Friday, State Minister for Cultural Affairs, KM Khalid, urged booklovers to carry their Covid-19 vaccination cards and follow health guidelines when visiting the upcoming Amar Ekushey Boi Mela.
He also assured publishers the authorities will cut stall fares 50% to minimise losses to publishers.
"We will also extend the fair if the Covid-19 infection rate declines," he said, visiting the preparations for the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela at Suhrawardy Udyan on Friday afternoon.
Earlier on 9 February, he said the government plans to extend the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela which is scheduled to start from 15 February for two weeks.
This year, people will be allowed to visit the fair venue from 2 pm to 9 pm every day. The gates will open at 11 am on holidays but close at 9pm every day. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the fair virtually.
An attractive and safe corner for children will also be set up at the fair and a task force will remain vigilant, the minister added.
People who will work at the fair – publishers, stall owners and salespersons – will not be allowed on the mela premises if they are not vaccinated and have been asked to get their Covid-19 vaccine doses as soon as possible.
Last year, the month-long fair, which usually begins on 1 February, was postponed to avoid the risk of Covid-19 transmissions. The fair eventually did launch on 18 March at the Bangla Academy premises and an adjacent venue at the capital's Suhrawardy Udyan.
Nevertheless, publishers incurred huge losses as the turnover in book lovers was not satisfactory, resulting in poor sales.