The Jakarta Post
Denpasar city on the resort island of Bali is set to impose its own kind of mobility restrictions starting Friday in an effort to clamp down on the transmission of the coronavirus.
The curbs, officially called restrictions of community activities (PKM), aim to limit people's daily activities, make masks mandatory in public, tighten security at all of the city's entry points and enforce a policy of physical distancing.
Though most of the measures have been in place over the past two months, the new restrictions will officially be stipulated in a Denpasar mayoral regulation and coupled with sanctions.
The city administration opted to impose community activity restrictions rather than the generally favored large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) as they wanted to keep the local economy running, said Dewa Gede Rai, the spokesperson of Denpasar’s COVID-19 task force.
“Under the PKM, people don't have to close their businesses. All economic activity keeps running with several conditions imposed,” Dewa told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
The new policy allows all businesses, including warung (sidewalk shops), restaurants, malls, traditional markets and grocery stores, to keep operating and other social activities to keep running normally. However, Dewa said, all of them should strictly implement health protocols and comply with the limited operating hours.
Since last month, the city administration has required all traditional markets, grocery stores, shopping centers and all businesses to run only until 9 p.m. at the latest. Authorities have conducted inspections to monitor compliance with the policy.
"Without the PKM we could so far only urge people [to obey], but without sanctions. Now [under the PKM], we are able to sanction those who ignore the measures," Dewa said, adding that the sanctions varied starting from only a reprimand to the withdrawal of operation permits.
While the restrictions are in place, restaurants have been urged to maximize takeouts. “They should reduce the seat capacity to implement physical distancing. So, we urge them to prioritize takeaway,” he said.
Students and civil servants will continue to study and work from home. Citizens are required to wear masks while going outside.
Authorities previously would give free masks to those found not wearing one while out in public. However, Dewa said, under the PKM, the violators would just be told to return home.
Denpasar will also tighten supervision at the city's entry points and only allow outsiders to enter the area for important reasons. Authorities are set to conduct random COVID-19 rapid tests in the borders.
"Those who seek to enter the city for unnecessary reasons will be denied entry to Denpasar," Dewa said.
The city administration decided to implement the PKM after they found out that many COVID-19 cases in Denpasar involved those who had returned to the city from outside. For instance, Dewa said, a family was infected after the father had come back to the city from their hometown in Buleleng in North Bali.
"We hope Denpasar residents understand that the PKM should be implemented to protect all people," he said. "The faster we can address [the pandemic], the faster we can live normally."
Bali Governor Wayan Koster has warmly welcomed Denpasar Mayor Ida Bagus Rai Mantra's plan to implement the restrictions. He suggested that all regencies across the resort island, especially those with surging numbers of coronavirus cases, follow suit.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Bali has confirmed 332 COVID-19 cases and four fatalities linked to the disease. Out of the total number of infections, 126 are local transmissions while the majority are still imported cases.
In Denpasar alone, health authorities have recorded 62 coronavirus cases with two fatalities. At last 47 people have recovered from the disease, while 13 are under treatment at hospitals.