Pushback, confusion from non-essential sectors in Bali as authorities enforce mandatory closure

Across Bali, authorities went around town on July 11, 2021, to raise awareness about the updated work from home policy. Photo: Buleleng Police
Across Bali, authorities went around town on July 11, 2021, to raise awareness about the updated work from home policy. Photo: Buleleng Police

Bali is witnessing anticipated pushback from businesses in non-essential sectors, as authorities enforce tighter restrictions that require them to close in a bid to scale down COVID-19 transmission in the province. 

The provincial government on Saturday issued a circular reaffirming that businesses in the non-essential sector “must close and implement work from home policy 100 percent” and that wedding receptions are prohibited during the Emergency Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (Emergency PPKM), which is expected to last until July 20. 

“For [those in the] non-essential sectors who remain open or are in violation of the circular, authorities will act firmly in the form of closure by the task force comprising police, the military, the High Court, and the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP),” regional secretary of the Bali administration, Dewa Made Indra, said.

Feey, a 25-year-old owner of a motorcycle helmet shop in Denpasar, expressed concerns over the regulation, claiming that business owners did not receive adequate information on the matter. 

“If the government wants to completely close businesses it deems non-essential, then there must be aid from the government to fulfill our daily needs,” he told Tribun Bali yesterday. 

“We get income from our daily work like this, if we’re not working then we don’t get any money. We get a small income, just barely enough, and we must pay rent. When we close, it’s deadly.”

Many small business owners in Denpasar aren’t even sure what falls under the essential or non-essential category, some reports have shown, illustrating a significant gap between government policy and the very people those rules are directly affecting.

Across Bali, authorities yesterday went around town to raise awareness about the updated work from home policy. In Buleleng regency, at least one business expressed unwillingness to comply with the rule, according to a police statement. Authorities said that they will be less lenient from today onward.

“Starting [today], there will be no mercy. Anyone who violates [the policy] will be closed,” Wayan Sarba, Head of Satpol PP in Tabanan, said.

Read more news and updates from Bali here

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