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Fireworks in pandemic: Bali to allow New Year's Eve celebrations

Jakarta Post - December 11, 2020

Jakarta – The Bali provincial administration will allow hotels, restaurants and tourists destinations to hold the upcoming New Year's Eve celebration under COVID-19 health protocols in a bid to revive the famed resort island's tourism sector.

There have not been any restrictions issued by the administration, Bali Tourism Agency head Putu Astawa said.

"There are no restrictions yet. We still allow [celebrations] on the condition that health protocols are implemented and capacity is limited to 50 percent," he said on Friday as reported by kompas.com.

Bali Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) head Dewa Nyoman Rai Darmada said his office would deploy personnel to help monitor locations where there were likely to be crowds. The supervision is part of efforts to make sure that all parties adhere to COVID-19 health protocols during New Year's Eve.

"We will conduct direct field monitoring at gathering points," he said.

However, Darmadi further said that the Bali authorities would soon issue an appeal for residents not to congregate in large crowds for New Year's Eve celebrations.

The authorities believed that residents would follow the required health protocols amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he said, adding that this was because everyone in Bali wanted the tourism sector to recover.

"Bali people really feel the burden of [the decline] in tourism. Tourism is almost empty and [they are faced] with layoffs. They are fully aware about upholding health protocols to keep Bali safe from COVID-19," Darmadi said.

Satpol PP has been actively conducting raids against health protocols violations. A total of 11,693 people were netted in raids from September to the second week of December. Of that figure, 1,722 people were fined while the rest were given warnings.

Tourism is the backbone of Bali's economy, contributing around 60 percent of the island's gross regional product. The pandemic has severely hit the province's local economy, 80 percent of which relies on tourism.

At least 2,667 people who work in the tourism sector on the island have lost their job, and 73,631 people have been forced to take unpaid leave.

Health Ministry data show that 112 more people in Bali contracted the coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases on the island to 15,182. The province has recorded 455 fatalities and 13,791 recoveries as per Thursday's data. (ami)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/12/11/fireworks-in-pandemic-bali-to-allow-new-years-eve-celebrations.htm