84,000 mall employees risk losing their jobs if PPKM is extended: association

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Shops in South Jakarta’s Pondok Indah Mall closed due to the government’s social distancing advisory in April 2020. Photo: Nadia Vetta Hamid/Coconuts Jakarta

There’s still no definitive answer on whether or not the Emergency Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (Emergency PPKM) would be extended beyond July 20, but business owners are warning of grave economic consequences that would impact many lives should it be extended.

The Association of Indonesian Shopping Center Developers (APPBI) today said that some 84,000 mall employees risk losing their jobs amid prolonged Emergency PPKM, which orders the closure of shopping centers during its implementation.

“The number of shopping center workers in all of Indonesia is 280,000. The potential for those to be furloughed or let go from their jobs [because of extended Emergency PPKM] amount to around 30 percent,” APPBI Chairman Alphonzus Widjaja said.

“If the mall closures are prolonged, then many employees will be furloughed. If it goes on for even longer, they will be made redundant.”

Alphonzus explained that shopping centers barely scraped through to survive 2020 amid looser restrictions then, such as limited opening hours and capacity. Under the current Emergency PPKM, malls and tenants have been unable to cover their expenditures.

The government has not issued a definitive statement regarding the fate of Emergency PPKM, which began on July 3 on the islands of Java and Bali. The Finance Ministry reportedly had prepared for a possible six-week extension, but a senior minister hinted that it would only be extended until July 31.


Health experts have long called for strict restrictions to limit mobility in Indonesia, even before the ongoing devastating surge in cases. They are, by and large, for the extension of Emergency PPKM — the closest set of measures Indonesia has had to full lockdown — amid concerns of grave economic impact. 

Yet despite the implementation of Emergency PPKM, Indonesia continues to break records for daily caseload and deaths this month. The government has admitted that its enforcement of the protocol has not been optimal.


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