Indonesia to Tighten Restrictions Over the Holiday Season

The entire country will move to PPKM Level 3, regardless of how low local infection rates may be.

Sunrise over the ancient temple of Borobudur in Central Java. (Photo: Alessio Roversi/Unsplash)

Indonesian officials are bringing in new rules to blunt an anticipated surge of Covid-19 following the Christmas and New Year period. Muhadjir Effendy, the country’s Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs, has announced that all regions will have their coronavirus restrictions raised to PPKM Level 3 from December 24 to January 2, 2022. Fireworks displays, parades, and processions are being banned; tourist attractions and shopping malls can stay open, while churches and other places of worship will be permitted to hold religious services at 50 percent capacity.

Recent months have seen Christmas Eve dropped from the holiday calendar, ending the prospect of a long weekend. Notably, employees are now prohibited from taking leave over Christmas and New Year’s, regardless of whether they are civil servants, in the police or armed forces, or working in the private sector. People have also been advised not to travel or return to their hometowns for non-essential purposes, although this guidance does not carry any legal weight. Anyone using public transportation must also have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Restaurants and cafés, cinemas, and shopping centers can operate at half-capacity until 9 p.m., with dine-in services still available. However, children will be barred from cinemas and malls during the festive season. Capacity limits for gyms and wedding receptions are being lowered to 25 percent; the same rule applies to workplaces in non-essential sectors, with only vaccinated employees allowed to head into the office.

Authorities have pledged to continue speeding up the nationwide vaccine rollout until the end of the year. As of November 18, 132 million residents, or just over 47 percent of Indonesia’s population, have received at least one dose, while 86.3 million (31 percent) are fully vaccinated.

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