Jakarta – The Central Java and Yogyakarta provincial administrations are currently mulling over closing down tourist sites in their areas during the year-end holidays to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Central Java has decided to temporarily close 84 tourist sites in the province during the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
According to the Central Java Youth, Sports and Tourism Agency, 27 tourist sites have been closed in Purworejo regency, 17 in Wonogiri regency, 17 in Kudus regency, 10 in Rembang regency, nine in Jepara regency, one in Surakarta city and three in Pemalang regency.
The agency's head, Sinoeng N. Rachmadi, said the provincial administration had closed down the tourist sites to prevent widespread COVID-19 transmission during the holidays.
"The policy takes on effect from Dec. 24, 2020 to Jan. 2, 2021. However, some sites will remain [closed] until Jan. 4," Sinoeng said in Semarang on Monday, kompas.id reported.
He said some of the tourist sites, such as Widuri Beach in Pemalang, were only closed on national holidays and weekends, while on weekdays they would be open as usual.
However, other tourist sites, such as all of those in Purworejo, would remain closed from Dec. 24 until January next year.
Previously, two tourists at Borobudur Temple in Magelang regency tested positive for COVID-19 during a random check by the Magelang Health Agency on Saturday. The tourists were asked to self isolate immediately.
COVID-19 cases also kept increasing in Central Java.
According to corona.jatengprov.go.id on Tuesday noon, there were 2,452 new confirmed cases, bringing the total tally in the province to 90,752. The province saw an additional 91 fatalities on the same day, taking the death count to 5,585.
The Yogyakarta provincial administration is still mulling over whether to close down its favorite downtown tourist attractions, including Malioboro, on New Year's Eve to prevent gatherings.
"We suggest that Tugu [Yogyakarta], Malioboro and the Zero Kilometer Point be put on lockdown from 6 p.m. on Dec. 31, 2020 until 6 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021," Yogyakarta COVID-19 task force member Krisnadi Setyawan said on Monday.
He said those areas had always been epicenters of crowds celebrating New Year's Eve, and thus carried a high risk of spreading COVID-19.
He said the provincial administration had already limited the operation hours of shopping centers, recreation sites, restaurants, cafes and movie theaters to up to 10 p.m., according to Yogyakarta Governor Instruction No. 7/INSTR/2020, taking effect from Dec. 24 to Jan. 8, 2021.
However, he said the current regulation had yet to ban people from gathering in crowds in public areas, including Tugu Yogyakarta, Malioboro or the Zero Kilometer Point. Therefore, a lockdown or a curfew was expected to be imposed in the said areas, he added.
Regardless, Yogyakarta deputy mayor Heroe Poerwadi said the city administration would not close those three sites, saying that closing them would only shift the crowds elsewhere.
"We're still planning to keep them open. If we close one site, then another site would be crowded instead," Heroe said on Monday, kompas.com reported.
He said the city administration would instead strictly implement health protocols, deploying city officers, police and military personnel to watch over possible violations.
As of Monday, Yogyakarta had recorded a cumulative total of 11,320 COVID-19 cases, including 239 fatalities, according to the province's data. (ami)