As one of the most important Balinese festivals begins, the Central Government has moved Bali to Covid-19 restriction level one. This comes as long-awaited and much-welcomed news for the retail sector in Bali which can now operate at 100% capacity.
The Head of the Bali Covid-19 Task Force, I Made Rentin, confirmed that as of Wednesday 8th June ‘The PPKM of Bali Province, regencies and cities throughout Bali is Level 1’. This means that shopping centers, non-essential shops, and markets can all now operate at 100% capacity.
This will bring much relief to the retail sector whose sales have been slashed throughout the pandemic. As Balinese families celebrate the beginning of the Galungan on the 8th of June, shop owners will be delighted that they can welcome customers through the doors without having to track who is coming and going.
This will be the first time in two years that the Balinese Hindu Galungan Festival can be celebrated with such freedom. Galungan celebrates the victory of dharma over adarma, good vs evil. The festival happens every 210 days in alignment with the Balinese traditional calendar.
Families spend time at their local temples performing rituals and ceremonies. Although places of worship can only operate at 75% capacity, communities are finding ways to coordinate the celebrations in alignment with restrictions. This is typically a busy time for the retail sector in Bali as local people buy food for community feasts, materials for decorations, new clothing for ceremonies, and gifts for the gods and loved ones.
The Level 1 restrictions do continue to limit the capacity and operating hours of the hospitality sector. Event venues, gyms, clubs, and restaurants may only operate at 75% capacity. Tourist attractions may only allow entry to 75% of their total capacity too.
Although the move to PPKM Level 1 has bought benefits for the retail sector, there is frustration from the hospitality sector that the restrictions have not changed for them.
As for cafes, warungs, food stalls, and formal restaurants the 75% capacity limit also remains in place. Eateries can stay open until 10 pm local time and diners can only stay seated for 60-minutes.
Restaurants and cafes that open in the evening are allowed to operate from 6 pm until midnight. The use of the track and trace app PeduliLindung remains enforced by the PPKM mandates.
The outdoor mask mandate was scrapped in late May, along with the pre-arrival PCR test for vaccinated travelers. The shift to restriction level one keeps in place the mandate for wearing masks in indoor settings and on public transport. The current PPKM Level 1 mandate is in place from 8th June until 4th July 2022.
The data on caseloads, transmission, and vaccine rates will all be assessed and if Covid-19 rates remain low across Bali, the 4th of July could be Bali’s final day of restrictions. Such a shift would be perfectly timed to mark the official start of Bali’s peak season.
Speaking to the press on the 24th of May, the Indonesian Minister for Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy, announced that the end of all restrictions across all of Indonesia is in sight. It was speculated that all restrictions in Bali would be removed following President Jokowi’s recent visit to the island.
Though the announcement is not quite what the tourism sector had been hoping for, the jump from restriction level two to level one is a significant step forward.
Local authorities will be closely monitoring caseloads over the Galungan Festival as the movement of people increases. If Bali can successfully navigate the removal of the pre-arrival PCR test for vaccinated travelers, a major festival and the retail sector operating at 100% capacity, the end of restrictions may be just around the corner. This would be a cause for celebration for locals and travelers alike.
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