In anticipation of the reopening of Bali and the accompanying “new normal,” the Governor of Bali, the Mayor of Denpasar, and the Province’s Regents have agreed to hold joint prayers at Bali’s Mother Temple of Besakih four days before the planned recommencement of island-wide business operations on 09 July 2020.
As reported by NusaBali, the “new normal” to be launched on 09 July 2020, will be limited to the Island’s general business sector. Meanwhile, the education and tourism sectors will remain on hold until the infection rates for COVID-19 subside to acceptably low levels.
Governor Wayan Koster said the challenge posed by the “new normal” is that the ratio of cases testing positive for COVID-19 must fall below 1%. At this time, the ratio testing positive is above 1%.
“However, Bali has been given a been granted a new approach to the “new normal” because of the high rate of “cured” cases and low rate of fatalities registered for the Province,” said Koster.
Because of this, Bali will hold prayers at Pura Besakih on Sunday, 05 July 2020, before launching a gradual approach to the “new normal” on 09 July 2020, with the opening of businesses and offices across Bali, while education and tourism operations will remain closed.
When, exactly, the education sector will reopen is a decision left to the Minister of Education and Culture, Nadiem Makarim. The Tourism Sector awaits the approval of the Minister of Tourism and the Creative Economy, Wishnutama Kusubadio.
Koster explained that Bali’s tourism industry would open in stages. Following the opening of local businesses, local tourism from only Bali will start and be gradually expanded to include nation-wide domestic tourism in August. In the final phase, if all goes according to plan, international tourists will be welcomed back to Bali in September 2020.
Discussing the plan to get the wheels of Bali’s economy rolling once again, Governor Koster said: “We have spoken to the Minister of Tourism and are still seeking the right date and an auspicious date on the Balinese calendar with due consideration, of course, to developments in the COVID-19 Pandemic. If things are good, the dates will be accelerated, but if they are not, then the date will be delayed due to the dictate of dynamics.”
When the Governor was asked which areas and tourist object would be opened first, Koster said priority would be given to places and attractions with low crowd density, such as river rafting. “If night entertainment spots, we won’t allow that first,” he said.
The Deputy-Governor Cok Ace contributed, saying that preparations for the “new normal” must be carefully formulated and executed. “The Regencies and Municipality can say they are ready. We will also make certain that the tourism associations are also truly ready. Health protocols must also be ready,” said Cok Ace.
Responding to the Bali’s House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali) suggestions that the areas of Nusa Dua, South Kuta, and Badung should be opened for business first, Cok Ace said this was a possibility. He reminded those suggesting that the reopening be accelerated; he warned that the matter at hand was not merely when the hotels in those areas were prepared to receive guests again.
Continuing, Cok Ace posed the following questions: “What about the readiness of the airlines? What about foreign tourists? Are there any who want to visit? We can open everything, but if there are no tourists, then what happens? Many connected issues have to be overcome one-by-one.”
The Deputy Governor reminded his audience that Bali hotels were not currently closed because of a lack of health protocols. Adding: “Hotels are closed because they had no guests.”
“We are also waiting for direction from the Central Government in Jakarta. Once we get the green light from Jakarta, we’re ready,” Cok Ace said.