The Port of Ketapang, one of Indonesia’s major seaports situated in Banyuwangi, East Java, reportedly received thousands of travelers crossing from Bali in the past week, many of whom decided to return to their hometowns after losing their jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Eid Al-Fitr coming this Sunday, state-owned ferry operator ASDP Indonesia Ferry had recorded more than 5,700 individual travelers, 744 motorbikes, and more than 2,000 private cars crossing over from Bali’s Gilimanuk Port.
Fahmi Alweni, ASDP General Manager in Ketapang Port, told reporters that 27 of their ships are currently operational, with most travelers taking the night ferry to go on their mudik homecoming exodus.
“From Ketapang, there’s almost no individual travelers heading to Bali, and only a few for those with motorbikes, who still have to get clearance from the [relevant] Task Force. Every ship can only take no more than 30 to 40 passengers,” Fahmi said, adding that there are about 1,000 travelers crossing daily.
Reports from local media outlets suggest that most of the travelers are making the journey to their hometowns in Java after losing their jobs in Pulau Dewata, presumably due to impacts from the coronavirus outbreak.
“I can no longer work. That’s why I am going home to Banyuwangi,” one traveler, identified as Kusnia, told Detik.
The Indonesian government officially banned mudik on April 21, after rising concerns that the return of Indonesians to their hometowns for the Eid holiday may result in rigorous spread of COVID-19 from urban centers to rural areas. The mudik ban was followed up by a temporary ban on public transportations, such as ferries and airlines. However, travel restrictions have started easing early this month, with those services permitted to resume some of their services.