Not that we condone going on mudik amid a pandemic, but the National Police's Traffic Corps has pretty much validated a glaring loophole of the government's ban on the annual Eid homecoming exodus.
The government previously banned mudik, which, before the pandemic, involved around 30 million Indonesians leaving major cities to visit their hometowns during the major Islamic holiday, in its effort to battle COVID-19.
Authorities have marked May 6-17 as the period in which the ban will take effect, wherein air, rail, and sea travel will be suspended while roadblocks will be set up throughout inter-provincial roads.
Does this mean Indonesians can technically go on mudik before May 6?
That's a resounding yes, according to the National Police Traffic Corps Chief Inspector General Istiono, who today said the police will even ensure smooth travel on the road.
"Before May 6, go ahead. We will ease [the journey]," Istiono told reporters today, explaining that the traffic police will ensure the safety of travelers going on mudik before the cut-off date.
"After the 6th, mudik is prohibited. We will set up the roadblocks. The danger [mudik brings] is the get-togethers, the gatherings. These will increase transmission of COVID-19, so we have to anticipate that."
Drivers stopped at roadblocks will be told to turn around and drive home. The majority of roadblocks will be set up throughout Java.
Travelers on official or emergency trips are exempt from the mudik ban.