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Tourism Sites Closed to Thwart Spread of COVID-19

Bali Governor Issues Decree to Temporarily Close all Government and Private Sector Tourist Attraction in Bali

Bali's Governor has recommended that all Regents and the single Mayor in Bali temporarily close all private and public tourist attractions and tourism villages as part of the nation-wide effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In addition to tourist objects, any other activities on the island involving crowds of participants, even including traditional cockfights, are being directed to cease operations temporarily. The Governor's instructions follow the guidance given by Indonesia's President Joko Widodo that the entire Republic should adopt a policy of "social distancing." 

Quoted by NusaBali, Governor Koster, on Friday, 20 March 2020, said:" We have already established study at home systems for school children, working from home, and limitations on public gatherings. These things have been done to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. We need to supplement this by limiting tourism activities."

The tourist sites and attractions will remain closed until 30 March 2020 at which time the public health situation will be re-evaluated.

The Governor is calling on Regents and Denpasar's Mayor to limit all activities at tourist objects in their respective regions and recommended that all tourism objects be temporarily closed, including those objects managed by the Government, traditional villages, and private operators.

The Governor added: "We hope these measures are effective in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in Bali. This is a temporary policy that will be changed and reviewed in accordance with local developments."

The final decision on closing tourism objects is left to Bali regents and the Mayor of Denpasar.

As a further step, Governor Koster has issued a circular memo (Surat Edaran (SE) Nomor 7381/8125/Sekret tentang Pembatasan Kegiatan Keramaian Tajen). Those instructions published on 20 March 2020, seek to limit public gatherings including ritual cockfights. 

In the circular, the Governor called on law enforcement to supervise and enforce prohibitions on group gatherings, including cockfights in Bali.

Leaders in Bali's tourism industry have voiced their support for the Governor's decree to limit public gatherings and close all tourist objects. The chairman of the Bali Chapter of Recreational Parks (PUTRI), I Gusti Agung Ayu Inda Trimafo Yudha, said, "This is indeed a difficult choice, but it must be done."

Gus Inda also said he was confident that the decision of Governor Koster was made in a mature and thoughtful way. Continuing, Gus Inda called on all the members of PUTRI to follow the instructions. At the same time, he called on the Government to pay attention to the workers at tourist attractions who no longer have sufficient funds for their daily living requirements. 

Separately, the chairman of Badung Regency's Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI-Badung), I Gusti Agung Ngurah Rai Suryawijaya, lent his vocal support to the Governor. Rai said, said the closure of tourism objects is needed to avoid Bali suffering the same fate as Italy, which is experiencing a terrible loss of life from the COVID-19 Pandemic

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