Businesspeople are prepared to press on with the Indonesian government’s plan to gradually reopen the economy under health protocols to establish a “new normal” amid the continued rise of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indonesia.

On 20 May, Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto signed a set of policies on the prevention and control of COVID-19 in offices and factories.

This set of policies outlines the requirements for businesses to be allowed to reopen. Some of these measures include maintaining sufficient hygiene at offices and factories, regular checking of employees’ temperatures, requiring employees to wear protective masks, keeping sufficient distance between employees while at work, minimising physical interaction with customers, and avoiding the formation of crowds.

Shinta Kamdani, deputy chairwoman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the reopening of businesses with the new health protocols was a necessary move to help the cash-starved businesses to recover. She also acknowledged the potential risks involved in doing so as cases of COVID-19 is still on the rise in the country.

“I don’t think we can wait until the pandemic is completely under control,” Shinta told The Jakarta Post in a phone interview. “We can only make an assessment based on businesses’ preparedness to implement the protocols in order to minimize the risks.”

Essental services have taken similar measures as they worked during the early days of the lockdown (PSBB). However, Shinta also recognises that SMEs might have a harder time implementing these new protocols.

The government has been struggling to keep the economy afloat during the outbreak and subsequent PSBB. Both the government and businesses people are determined to keep the wheels of the economy turning.

However, reopening the economy may not help the hotel industry as consumers will have less holiday time than they normally do and the government will have fewer meetings and conferences, said Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) vice chairman Maulana Yusran.

“In the new normal, which will go from June to the end of the year, the government’s activities may not be optimal or may even be at a minimum,” Maulana said, projecting that the country’s hotel market might only begin recovering next year.


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