Ivany Atina Arbi, Jakarta – The government has urged managers of tourist attractions to strictly enforce COVID-19 health protocols as visitors are expected to flock to popular sites for the long weekend.
National COVID-19 task force spokesman Wiku Adisasmito encouraged all tourist sites to limit the number of visitors to half of their respective capacity to ensure sufficient space for physical distancing. Managers should also provide handwashing facilities for visitors.
"Make sure all visitors wear masks and maintain physical distancing," Wiku said during a press briefing on Thursday.
He highlighted that several tourist sites had seen overwhelming crowds last weekend, which turned out to be three days with Independence Day falling on Monday.
For example, more than 15,000 hikers thronged Mount Bawakaraeng in South Sulawesi to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Independence Day on top of the mountain. As authorities failed to intervene, the number of hikers commemorating the event on the mountain had tripled from previous years.
"We don't want to see that happening again this holiday weekend," said Wiku.
The government declared Friday a collective leave day in addition to Islamic New Year, which fell on Thursday, to create a four-day weekend.
The move is expected to boost economic activity in tourism, a sector that had seen a significant decline in the last few months due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Health authorities announced 2,266 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 147,211. Meanwhile, the official count of COVID-19 fatalities has reached 6,418.