Jakarta suspends permits for large gatherings


Anxiety has befallen business events stakeholders across Jakarta, following Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan’s decision to temporarily suspend the issuance of permits, and reviewing issued permits, for mass gatherings in the city due to Covid-19.

In response to the governor’s instruction to raise awareness about Covid-19, One-Stop Integrated Services Agency (BPTSP) issued a circular that suspended permits for large-scale gatherings.

Permits for large gatherings in Jakarta are being suspended, currently issued permits will be reviewed

The suspension is not only for outdoor activities, such as bazaar, camps, sports and youth events, but also indoor ones, including business events, – although BPTSP did not mention business events in its circular – according to Cucu Kurnia, head of Jakarta Tourism and Creative Economy Agency.

The governor’s instruction has raised the eyebrows of lawmaker Evita Nursanty. Evita, who has a business events background, argued that the ban could kill the meeting industry and worsen the country’s economy.

And while she agreed the Jakarta administration needed to raise awareness on the risks of the spread of coronavirus, the government also needed to keep the country’s economy alive.

Evita warned that this particular regulation could oppose the policy of Indonesian president Joko Widodo who called for the holding of more business events, especially in regions, to bolster domestic tourism and mitigate Covid-19’s impact on the tourism sector.

Hosea Andreas Runkat, chairman of the Indonesia Exhibition Company Association, said: “We should fight Covid-19 with the spirit of moving the tourism and creative economic sector (forward), avoid pessimism in the business events industry and spread optimism instead.”

He added that instead of terminating all permit issuance, the Jakarta government should allow events – that could fulfil the more stringent requirements set by the Ministry of Health and WHO – to proceed.

Susilowani Daud, president director of Pacto Convex, added: “Indonesia has handled epidemics before. Venues like hotels, convention centres and professional organisers like us will not be reckless under this circumstance and will refer to guidelines set by the government. Therefore, it is not necessary for the governor to bar all types of gatherings. This regulation will just create more fear.”

And as fear is contagious, Susilowani was concerned that other city governments would follow suit.

As for the reviewing of issued permits, Cucu explained to TTG Asia that the Jakarta government has decided that not all business events will be suspended, and low-risk events will still be able to proceed.

“We have created two criteria, high risk and low risk, based on the room space. (The event can proceed) one person has a 1m2 space in the room. For example, if the event has 500 people participating, the room must at least be 500m2. If it is less than 500m2, the event is identified as high risk.”

“But I think that business events will not be in a high-risk category. Events like music concert are in the high-risk category,” he said. Cucu added that business events that are given the green light to proceed also had to implement tighter SOPs, such as providing hand sanitisers, a suitable isolation room, as well as the checking of the body temperature of all visitors. – Additional information by Mimi Hudoyo

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