‘It depends’: Bali authorities say deportation doesn’t apply to all foreigners who violate mask rule

Police in Buleleng regency at a checkpoint over the weekend. Photo: Buleleng Police
Police in Buleleng regency at a checkpoint over the weekend. Photo: Buleleng Police

Bali authorities may have initially made strong declarations against foreign nationals who violate health protocols, but enforcement of the rules is evidently easier said than done, as officials appear to be softening their stance during times of tighter restrictions. 

Related ⁠— ‘No more being soft’: Official says immediate deportation for foreigners violating Emergency PPKM rules

“It depends on the level of their offense,” I Dewa Nyoman Rai Dharmadi, Head of Law Enforcement and Discipline on the COVID-19 Task Force in Bali, said yesterday.

When it comes to the mandatory mask rule, for example, wearing the wrong type of mask is considered a light offense, Dharmadi explained. In this case, officers will provide a proper mask and give the violator a warning. Medium offenses consist of improper use of masks, such as having it hanging down, for which foreigners may be subjected to an IDR1 million (US$69) fine.

Meanwhile, the threat of deportation only applies for foreigners caught wearing no masks. 

“That’s the equivalent to harassing existing regulations,” Dharmadi said.

Bali, along with other high-risk regions across Indonesia, is under the Emergency Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (Emergency PPKM) protocol, which is expected to last until at least July 20. 

At the start of Emergency PPKM, Head of the Bali office for the Law and Human Rights Ministry, Jamaruli Manihuruk, warned foreigners that violation of health protocols would lead to deportation, addressing widespread concerns that authorities have been too lenient with visitors during the pandemic, as many continue to violate the mandatory mask rule even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the province. 

At the time, Jamaruli admitted that authorities have been “pretty soft,” but declared that times of emergency means they will be stricter in enforcing regulations. 

Bali has certainly seen more patrols and monitoring on the ground during Emergency PPKM, which has led to people — including foreign nationals — being rounded up over violations. At least two dozen foreign nationals in Canggu have had to deal with authorities for mask-related offenses in the past week alone, but only three are reportedly facing deportation. 

Jamaruli said yesterday there are currently around 130,000 foreign nationals in Bali, and reaffirmed that rules under Emergency PPKM also apply to them.

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