Bali a resort island in Indonesia is partially reopening after the lockdown of three months. However, the residents and foreign tourists that were stranded in Bali can now resume their public activities. The international tourists will start arriving on the island from September.
The lockdown was in early April. All busy beaches and streets were empty except for special patrols to ensure health protocols were observed. All public activities were under the control of the authorities.
Moreover, airports were closed and all shops, bars, sit-down restaurants, public swimming pools, and many other places on the island were shut for three months.
However, there are more than 4 million people residing on the island.
Bali Governor I Wayan Koster said, the government is lifting the lockdown on Thursday. But tourists will have to follow strict rules implemented by the government.
Hotels, restaurants, and beaches will follow the rules.
Koster said they plan to gradually reopen the island’s shuttered places to locals and stranded foreigners. However, the island will open for people from other parts of the country on July 31. But the island will welcome foreign tourists from September 11.
However, the government is giving guidelines for reopening tourist spots for the safety of the tourists. Moreover, the government will again close certain areas where the infection will increase he said.
Effect on Tourism Sector
“The pandemic has hit the tourism sector so badly while there is no certainty when it will end,” Koster said. “We have to revive economic activity to prevent Bali from new social problems due to increasing economic pressures.”
The island mainly generates its income from tourism. More than 5 million foreign tourists visit Bali each year. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the numbers of visitors are low.
The island is famous for its white-sand beaches and popular shopping areas. But two decades ago due to terrorism visitors were not comfortable visiting Bali. There was a suicide bombing that killed 202 mostly foreign tourists in 2002. But the island has worked to overcome that image.
The local government of Bali extended visas to more than 7,000 stranded tourists in Bali. There are about 16,000 who hold temporary residence permits and about 1,300 live as permanent residents.
Hotels of Low Occupancy
Due to low tourism, the island occupancy rate of starred hotels has declined to 2.07% in May from 62.5% in December.
Businessman Gede Wirata, who runs hotels, restaurants, clubs, and a cruise ship with about 4,000 employees, said he managed to save his staff from layoffs despite having suffered a loss of 500 billion rupiahs ($35 million) because of travel restrictions.
“This outbreak has hammered the local economy,” he said. “We have to move on but be safe by observing health protocols to protect Bali from the second wave of coronavirus spread.”
Bali had more than 1,900 cases of COVID-19, including 25 deaths. Indonesia has confirmed more than 68,000 cases and 3,359 fatalities, the most in Southeast Asia.