On Tuesday 17th May Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced that the need for PCR tests for vaccinated travelers arriving in Indonesia is over. This news has been welcomed by the regional Bali government which is now renewing efforts to ensure the island’s vaccine uptake remains high to support public health.
Jokowi’s government has also scrapped the outdoor mask mandate, leaving very few Covid-19 related restrictions in place. Bali and Java are both placed on Level 2 restrictions, these remaining mandates limit the number of people that cafes, restaurants, places of worship, and event spaces are allowed to host at any one time. It is thought that these capacity restrictions will soon be scrapped too, allowing cafes and restaurants to operate at 100% capacity rather than 70%.
The updated mask mandate still dictate that masks must be worn in indoor public spaces and on public transport. This news has been positively received by travelers, locals, and the tourism sector. The Bali Regional Government also welcomed the news that the central government was prioritizing economic recovery with the reduction of travel-related restrictions.
However, Bali Governor Wayan Koster has announced that he has submitted a request to the central government to declare Covid-19 an endemic in Bali. If this were granted it would allow him to mandate restrictions for Bali alone. This is unlikely to be granted and in light of this, the Bali government is taking to the streets to ensure that locals are double vaccinated and given their booster shots.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday 18th May, Deputy Mayor of Bali Kadek Wibawa said that these updated policies will support the recovery of Bali’s tourism sector. He shared how 88% of the population of Denpasar Regency is fully vaccinated and that figures across the island are catching up. Denpasar now has the third-highest vaccine uptake rate in all of Indonesia.
In the wake of the removal of the outdoor mask mandate, the Bali government has plans to keep the local Covid-19 task forces working hard. Instead of policing mask-wearing in public spaces, the Covid-19 Task Force will now be talking to the public about their vaccination status.
Vaccine certificate checks will be done to ensure that those who are single vaccinated receive their second dose, and those who are double vaccinated are encouraged to get their booster. According to Bali’s Public Health data, there were no new covid cases recorded in Denpasar on Monday 16th May. A positive sign that caseloads have been curbed for good.
Wibawa said ‘I have coordinated and directed the Satpol-PP and the Denpasar Covid-19 Task Force. The direction is to change the inspection pattern from mask inspection to booster vaccine inspection. Now, this will be in accordance with the President’s statement and we will protect the public by ensuring they have received the vaccine’.
Travelers and ex-pats in Bali are unlikely to be stopped for a vaccine certificate check since entry requirements to Indonesia now require travelers to show their vaccine certificate to passport control officers. Those who are medically exempt from receiving the vaccine must show proof of exemption signed off by a medical doctor. Those under the age of 18 do not need to present a vaccine certificate on arrival.
Many international managed hotels, resorts, restaurants, and transfer companies are requiring their Indonesian staff to be double vaccinated before returning to work, hence why the vaccine street campaign is so important to Bali’s public health and economy.
Over the last month, Bali has seen a significant drop in unemployment rates, this is another positive sign that Bali is emerging from the pandemic and committed to keeping its doors open to international visitors without any backward steps.
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