Bali slowly reopens with new normal protocols

12 June 2020 - It has been three months since Indonesia declared the first case of Covid-19 at the beginning of March. All events and holiday plans were cancelled to curb the spread of the outbreak. Even the most significant event in Bali, Nyepi (silence day) which is always be celebrated with Ogoh-Ogoh parade on Nyepi eve was cancelled. Many tourists visiting the island were forced to fly back home, and those who are planning a holiday to Bali must postpone until further notice. It leads to an unimaginable nightmare for every tourism businesses on the island, especially for those who work as informal workers on the travel and tourism sector as many Balinese do.

But today we can finally catch a glimpse of hope as things start to get back to normal in Indonesia, especially in the island of gods - Bali. Malls and restaurants have already begun to re-open since the last couple of days by implementing the health protocols. Beachwalk mall in Kuta is now operating with new operational hour from 11.00 to 20.00 every day, and Mall Bali Galeria is working from 12:00 to 20.00 every day. One of the most popular beach clubs in Bali, Karma Beach Club also scheduled for re-opening on 20 June.

People also start visiting some beaches which “un-officially” re-opened by the local communities; even though the governor of Bali had emphasized that all tourist attractions should not be opened by now as the central government has not granted the permission. This situation is very understandable as people have been staying in their home for so long, and it is undoubtedly affecting their mental health.

President Joko Widodo has contacted the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry in late May to check on the progress of “special strategies” on tourism recovery program in terms of “new normal” era. The ministry advised to gradually identify which areas that are ready to welcome tourists with Covid-19 health protocols. “We are integrating some plans with other ministries, institutions and task forces,” Wishnutama stated in late May. 

While in Canggu, an unfortunate incident happened in a restaurant located in Batu Bolong, Wednesday night (10/6); the police came and dismissed a group of people who are flooding the restaurant area without wearing a mask and keep social distancing. The management said they had implemented some protocols, including checking the body temperature upon every guest arrival and make it compulsory to everyone to wash hand before entering the place. However, things got out of control as suddenly many people are excited to come, and the crew got overwhelmed. 

Immigration services for foreign nationals at immigration offices are open now.

Some essential services for foreigners in the immigration office are now available: 
  1. Change of status of an Immigration Stay Permit application
  2. New temporary Stay Permit (ITAS) issuance
  3. Immigration Certificate of Residency (SKIM) issuance
  4. Indonesian Dual Citizenship and immigration facility application
Nonetheless, immigration also stated that all travel restrictions to enter or transit in Indonesia had not been lifted. All foreigners stranded in Bali due to Covid-19 are still eligible for Emergency Stay Permit until further notice. The immigration has informed NO official update regarding when Visa on Arrival will be available again.

Applicants who plan to enter the immigration office are required to follow some protocols:
  1. Wear a face mask
  2. Wash hands
  3. Check body temperature at the entrance
  4. Practice social distancing
These protocols have now become a standard procedure to be implemented in public areas, including markets, restaurants, hotels, offices and all the places.