In what is welcome news as we enter what looks to be a scorching summer, President Joko Widodo this afternoon announced a relaxation to the mask mandate in the country.
Specifically, starting tomorrow, masks will officially no longer be required outdoors in most cases.
“If the people are conducting activities outdoors or at an open space that’s not crowded, then not wearing a mask is permissible,” Jokowi said in a press conference today.
The president stressed that masks are still mandatory in enclosed spaces, including on public transportation. Those with health risks, including the elderly, are still advised to mask up wherever they go.
“This also applies to those who have symptoms like coughing and sniffles. They have to mask up when conducting their activities,” he said.
Indonesia imposed its mask mandate in April 2020 nationwide. This is the first meaningful loosening of the proverbial straps of the mandate since.
More recently, however, people have been generally more relaxed about taking off their masks outdoors, owing to much less stringent enforcement of the mandate and general fatigue towards COVID-restrictions.
In addition, also starting May 18, PCR and antigen tests will be no longer be required for fully-vaccinated international and domestic travelers.
Indonesia has posted daily new cases in the low hundreds recently, despite just coming back from the Eid holiday, which saw millions travel to their hometowns.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include details on the removal of COVID-19 testing mandate for travelers.