Viral: Foreigners ignore social distancing by partying in Bali, sparking outrage online

Instagram story screengrabs from the party, which reportedly took place on April 12, 2020.
Instagram story screengrabs from the party, which reportedly took place on April 12, 2020.

UPDATE: A follow-up video to the viral incident has been shared online, where the foreigners who threw the party last night conveyed their apology to the public. They explained that the party was initially intended to be a small birthday gathering but ended up being bigger than they anticipated.

“We just kind of want to say that we do totally understand the measures that the government has put in place to stop the spread of COVID[-19] and if it didn’t look like we were obeying those rules we do genuinely apologize,” one man can be heard saying in the video. 

Another post alleged that the party had taken place at a popular venue in Batu Belig Street, with a video showing local authorities storming the place and asking for the person in charge to show up. Original story follows. 

A group of foreigners in Bali evidently ignored stay-at-home advisories and instead gathered for a not-so-low-key house party last night, as videos that appear to have been taken during the event are making the rounds on social media and sparking outrage from local residents. 

Coconuts Bali was at home like any responsible adult should be, but we caught wind of this event just this morning as our timelines were flooded with people resharing posts from the party, seemingly frustrated that some people could be so irresponsible in the middle of a pandemic. 

A little internet sleuthing showed us that at least one of the people who shared about the party on their Instagram story had over 211,000 followers, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that word spread around quickly. 

The videos show at least a dozen people gathering at a villa, where at least one bartender kept everyone hydrated with booze, while a DJ was pumping tunes from one corner of the room. Though the location of the party is unconfirmed, some accounts are reporting that it took place in Canggu. Netizens suspect that these people just couldn’t bear to stay at home any longer.

Instagram screengrabs of the party.
Instagram screengrabs of the party.

They’re not exactly breaking any laws, but knowing what we know now about COVID-19 and official advisories already in place, apparently the seriousness of this public health crisis wasn’t enough of a deterrent for the partygoers. And as far as we could see on that available footage, no one was wearing a mask either. 

Bali has so far confirmed 81 COVID-19 cases, which includes two deaths of foreign nationals. Indonesia confirmed 399 additional cases of the coronavirus yesterday, bringing the country’s total to 4,241. As much as we’d like to imbue optimism, the reality is that we are far from the end of this pandemic. 

People were understandably outraged about the party, and took to social media to express their frustration. 

“Bali has a lot of barbaric guests now… Denpasar stores close at 9pm because of a circular, in Tabanan they close at 5pm… because all of these places closed they make their own party. The locals are compliant, but the foreigners are being trash like this.” 

“We are doing our best to not leave our homes, to lessen interaction with others so that we don’t infect or get infected, but here they are partying hard. In my village the pecalang (traditional Balinese security forces) are active to make sure no one is holding such a gathering.”

“They must be given a hard sanction as an example of the consequences and impacts of disobeying regional rules ⁠— if not, this island and its traditions will continue to be stepped on and colonized, how long are we going to stay comfortable being colonized?”

At the time of publication, local authorities have yet to issue any statement about the incident. 

Read more news and updates from Bali here.

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