Jakarta. Two Jakarta's satellite cities, Bogor and Depok, have begun imposing a night-time curfew following a recent resurgence in Covid-19 cases.
Places of business such as malls, cafes, and restaurants are only allowed to operate until 6.00 p.m. Out-of-home activities past the curfew are restricted to avoid crowds. However, employees are exempt from this rule as many work on shifts.
Bogor Mayor Bima Arya began implementing the curfew under the so-called "micro and community-scale social restrictions" (PSBMK) on Saturday, as the city turned to a high-risk area or red zone. Residents and culinary street vendors can stay outdoors until 9.00 p.m. Street vendors are only allowed to serve takeaway orders to avoid crowds.
In comparison to Bogor, the curfew for Depok residents and street vendors starts an hour earlier at 8.00 p.m. Delivery services can still operate until 9.00 p.m.
According to Depok Mayor Mohammad Idris, restricting out-of-home activities is necessary to curb the city's virus outbreak. For the past two weeks, more than 70 percent of confirmed cases in Depok are “imported” from other cities.
"These imported cases come from office clusters which trigger the contagion in families," Idris told local online media Kompas on Sunday.
For Depok, the introductory phase of the curfew had already begun since Monday. Sanctions for any violator will start to be in effect on Thursday.
A Toll on Business
The curfew, however, can be concerning for business owners. Many street food vendors -- such as those who sell fried rice -- are also only open at night.
Yudi, manager of a coffee shop in Depok, supported the government's attempt to combat the pandemic. However, he feared the curfew would cut revenue by up to 50 percent and thus forcing him to lay off his employees.
"It would be much more effective for the government to urge businesses to ramp up health protocols instead," Yudi told Jakarta Globe's sister publication Beritasatu on Monday.
Whether it is night or day, virus transmission can still occur, he said.
In Bogor, businesses flouting the curfew will be fined starting from Rp 1 million ($67.7) to 10 million. Violators must also write a statement that they will not repeat the mistake before reopening under strict health protocols.
Anyone not wearing a mask will have to face a Rp 50,000 to Rp 250,000 fine.
The municipal government had run a two-day introductory phase throughout the weekend. Although sanctions had only been enforced since Monday, there are already nine businesses caught red-handed.
"We have imposed a fine on eight businesses ranging from Rp 1 million to Rp 3 million. We have also sealed off one place of business because they refuse to pay the fine," Bogor Municipal Police Chief Agustyansyah said on Wednesday.
Fast food restaurant owner David Ginting worried that he would miss the dinner rush and asked the Bogor city administration to reconsider the start of the curfew.
"Six p.m. is a busy time for a restaurant. We hope that it can be pushed back to 9.00 p.m," he said.
Still in Discussion
Other Jakarta's satellite cities, Tangerang City and South Tangerang, are mulling over whether to issue the curfew.
"If people are not crowding, we will not impose a curfew. But if restaurants and street vendors cannot control their customers, we have no choice but to take care of people's health. Health is the highest law. We must act wisely," Tangerang Mayor Arief R Wirmansyah said on Tuesday.
Likewise, South Tangerang Mayor Airin Rachmy Diany said the night-time rule is still in discussion.
On the other hand, Bekasi decided not to impose any curfew in fear of the potential economic impact it may cause.
"The president told us to put a brake on Covid-19 and hit the gas for the economy. If we put a brake on both, we are done," Bekasi Mayor Rahmat Effendi said.