Government announces prohibition of crowds during Christmas and New Year holidays

Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut B. Pandjaitan. (Photo: DOC. MARITIM.GO.ID)

IO – The Government has officially prohibited public crowding during the Christmas and New Year holidays. Coordinating Minister of Maritime Affairs and Investments Luhut B. Pandjaitan, who is also the Vice Chairman of the COVID-19 Mitigation and National Economic Recovery Committee (Komite Penanggulangan COVID-19 dan Pemulihan Ekonomi Nasional – “KPCPEN”) requests that this cordon is implement on 18 December 2020 to 8 January 2021, as the number of new cases continue to increase significantly during the national holidays period in late October. “The number of positive infection and deaths in eight provinces continues to increase after the national holidays and joint leave in late October, right after the trend lowered earlier,” he said during the virtual COVID-19 Mitigation Coordinating Report held simultaneously in DKI Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, and Bali on Monday (14/12/2020). 

The virtual Coordination Meeting was also attended by Minister of Health Terawan Agus Putranto, Minister of Transportation Budi Karya Sumadi, Chairman of the Indonesian National Board for Disaster Management (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana – “BNPB”) Doni Monardo, Governor of DKI Jakarta Anies Baswedan, Governor of West Java Ridwan Kamil, Governor of East Java Khofifah Indar Parawansa, Governor of Bali I Wayan Koster, representative of the Governor of Central Java, and relevant Commanders of Regional Military Commands and Chiefs of Regional Police. 

Luhut stated that the Provinces of DKI Jakarta, West Java, Central Java, East Java, South Sulawesi, North Sumatra, Bali, and South Kalimantan show a rising infection trend. He specifically requests the Governor of DKI Jakarta, Anies Baswedan, to up the work from home (WFH) policy to 75%. “I have also requested Mr. Governor to continue his policy of limiting operational hours up to 19.00 p.m., and to limit the number of people gathering in food joints, malls, and entertainment spaces,” he said. 

In order to prevent this policy from burdening business tenants in malls, Luhut further requests the owners of shopping centers, through the Governor of DKI Jakarta, to reduce lease and service charges to tenants. “These lease and service charge reduction schemes can be jointly agreed upon by shopping centers and tenants. A sample scheme that they can use is the prorate scheme,” he said. 

Luhut further requests that events that might potentially gather crowds, such as celebrations and religious rituals, to be restricted or outright prohibited and be held online instead. The military and the police must also be alert for behavioral changes as they expand their operation. “These operations will be preceded by a joint military and police ceremony led by the President to symbolize the strengthening of our commitment,” he said. 

At the Meeting, Luhut also directed the Governor West Java, Central Java, and East Java on how to optimize the utilization of centralized isolation and how to strengthen judicial operations to ensure the implementation of centralized isolation and 3M (mencuci tangan, memakai masker, dan menjaga jarak – hand-washing, mask-wearing, and physical distancing) health protocols. “I have also requested Regional Governments to strengthen social restriction according to urban, suburban, and rural contexts,” he said. 

In the urban context, Regional Governments are requested to strengthen the implementation of WFH and the restriction of the operational hours of dining places, entertainment spaces, and malls to 20.00 p.m. at the local time. In suburban and rural areas, Regional Governments are requested to strengthen the implementation of micro- and community-scaled social restrictions. Finally, four famous tourist areas such as the Province of Bali, Lombok, etc., Luhut requests the strengthening of health protocols in rest areas, hotels, and tourist spots. “We mandate all tourists who are heading to Bali and similar areas to take the PCR test -2 days before their flight, and to take antigen rapid test -2 days before their land journey to enter these areas,” he said. 

Luhut has requested the Minister of Health, the Head of the BNPB, and the Minister of Transportation to immediately set up the mechanism and procedures for these tests. “I request that the SOP for using antigen rapid test be completed today,” he said. Governor of DKI Anies Baswedan confirms that no Christmas and New Year celebrations that may gather many people will be allowed in the region. He will also implement an obligation to citizens entering the city through its airports to perform rapid antigen COVID testing. “This is what we are implementing, Mr. Coordinating Minister, and I hope that the rest of the Jabodetabek area will implement the same policy soon,” he said. 

PT ASDP (Persero)’s President Director, Ira Puspadewi stated that there will be special rules for regulating citizens who seek to use modes of transport during the Christmas 2020 and New Year 2021 holidays in relation with the implementation of COVID-19 health protocols. “There will be special requirements for those who arrive from Jakarta and Bali. My dear media friends can look it up: We are going to have an announcement from the (COVID-19 Mitigation) Task Force. There will be something special for the holidays,” she said. Similarly, Ministry of Transportation’s General Director of Land Transportation, Budi Setiyadi, admits that health protocols will be more restrictive during the Christmas 2020 and New Year 2021 holidays in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19. “The directives from the Government are quite clear – we are pulling in the limits more closely than now,” he said. 

However, Budi does not dare to explain what new regulations will the Government issue during the endof- year holiday. “This is because we basically need to implement stricter restrictions, as COVID-19 really hits just about all of our towns. These restrictions may include what to wear etc.,” he said. (dan)