New Normal: Indonesian Trade and Religious Ministries Issue Health Protocols for COVID-19 Pandemic
By Syarifah Reihana Fakhry
DKI Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has announced that his administration will slowly begin to lift the strict COVID-19 quarantine measures implemented in the province. June, the governor said, will be a transition period as DKI Jakarta begins to enter the \"new normal‚Äù.
During this transition period, offices, restaurants, shops, factories, businesses and public facilities such as places of worship will be allowed to open at up to half capacity beginning the second week of June. Non-food businesses and shopping centers will be allowed to open starting the third week of June. Other facilities such as parks, museums and libraries will also slowly begin to reopen during the month.
With COVID-19 infection and death rates still rising, there is concern about the consequences of easing social distancing restrictions. Is Indonesia ready to usher in the new normal?
The Health Ministry, Trade Ministry and Religious Affairs Ministry have separately issued policies to try and address these concerns. They have established health protocols for workplaces, markets, shopping malls and places of worship to try and mitigate transmission of the virus once they have reopened.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the policies issued by the Trade Ministry to restore economic activities and the guidelines issued by the Religious Affairs Ministry to facilitate religious activities.
Restoring Trade Activities
To help ensure that goods and services continue to be distributed and available to the public during the pandemic, the Trade Ministry issued Circular Letter No. 12/2020 on Restoring Trade Activities During COVID-19 and the New Normal. It lays out guidelines and protocols required for centers of trade such as traditional markets, convenience stores, restaurants, pharmacies, malls, salons and recreation sites such as zoos, museums and galleries that plan to reopen once social distancing restrictions have been eased or lifted.
The operators of these locations must ensure that all of their merchants, managers, clerks, waiters and other workers/support staff have taken a COVID-19 rapid test or polymerase chain reaction (\"PCR‚Äù) test and that their result was negative. While working, they must wear masks, face shields and gloves, and maintain a distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other. All workers must have their temperature taken daily and they will only be allowed to enter the location if their temperature is below 37.3 degrees Celsius.
Visitors are also required to wear masks, maintain physical distancing of at least 1.5 meters and have their temperatures checked upon entering. The new protocols and guidelines also set limits on the number of people allowed in retail locations and public facilities at one time. Traditional markets are limited to 30% of normal capacity, 35% for shopping malls, 40% for convenience stores and restaurants, and 50% for other recreation sites. There also will be a limit on how long visitors are allowed inside. Once their time inside has lapsed, another batch of visitors will be allowed inside. Visitors waiting to be allowed inside shall queue outside while maintaining physical distancing of at least 1.5 meters.
To ensure adherence and prevent crowding, the protocols require strict controls be put in place at entry and exit points. People with respiratory symptoms such as coughing will be prohibited from entering.
Retail areas and other public facilities will be required to maintain cleanliness and shall be disinfected regularly/every two days, and handwashing stations with soap and hand sanitizers must be provided.
Restaurants are encouraged to sell healthy foods and convenience stores shall prioritize online orders and non-cash payments.
II. Reporting, Supervision and Sanctions
The management of these centers of trade must regularly report on their implementation of the above protocols to the Head of the Local COVID-19 Task Force (Kepala Gugus Tugas COVID-19 Setempat), copied to the local Trade Sector Office (Dinas Perdagangan).
A joint team consisting of members of the regional government and associations will oversee the dissemination of information on and the supervision and enforcement of the protocols. The Circular Letter does not clarify to which associations it is referring.
Guards and inspection points shall be placed at all entry and exit points of the trading locations.
All violations of the protocols shall be subject to sanctions in accordance with the prevailing laws and regulations.
During the implementation of Limitations on Large-Scale Social Interactions (Pembatasan Sosial Berskala Besar or \"PSBB‚Äù) in Jakarta, sanctions for violations of PSBB restrictions are regulated under Governor of DKI Jakarta Regulation No. 41 Year 2020 (\"Regulation 41‚Äù). Article 7 paragraph 1 of Regulation 41 provides that restaurants operating during PSBB that do not follow proper protocols to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 are subject to administrative sanctions in the form of temporary closure and administrative fines of Rp 5 million to Rp 10 million.
Sanctions for failure to abide by proper protocols after PSBB has been lifted have not been regulated.
Religious Activities in Places of Worship
The Ministry of Religious Affairs has issued Circular Letter No. 15 Year 2020, which provides the health protocols necessary to reopen places of worship.
Places of worship that may be reopened to the public are those located in areas deemed to have little risk of transmission of COVID-19. These places of worship will be given a certificate/statement letter from the Head of the Local COVID-19 Task Force.
The management of places of worship may submit an application to the task force to obtain certification. Large places of worship with sizeable congregations can apply directly to the head of their region for a certificate.
The certificate/statement letter will be revoked if a case of COVID-19 infection arises in the neighborhood around the place of worship or if the place of worship fails to abide by the requirements established in the health protocols.
These protocols include obligations for the management or person in charge of the place of worship and visitors/congregation members.
Management/person in charge of a place of worship shall:
a. Appoint a person to supervise the implementation of the health protocols in the place of worship.
b. Perform regular cleaning and disinfecting of the place of worship.
c. Limit the number of entry and exit points to make it easier to supervise the implementation of the health protocols.
d. Provide handwashing facilities at entrances and exits.
e. Provide temperature checkpoints. Visitors with a temperate above 37.5 degrees Celsius (after two tries within five minutes) shall be prohibited from entering.
f. Implement physical distancing of at least one meter by marking the floor or chairs.
g. Limit the number of visitors/worshipers inside the place of worship to ensure they maintain proper physical distance.
h. Shorten the time of worship/religious activity without impacting proper ceremonial etiquette.
i. Install signs to remind visitors/worshipers of the health protocols inside the place of worship.
j. Prepare a letter indicating preparedness to implement the health protocols.
k. Ensure that visitors/worshipers follow the health protocols.
Visitors and congregation members must participate in the implementation of the health protocols in places of worship. They must be healthy, ensure the place of worship they are in has obtained the proper certification, wear a mask upon leaving their house and while inside the place of worship, maintain cleanliness, avoid physical contact and maintain physical distancing of at least one meter. They must avoid lingering and gathering in the place of worship, and prohibit vulnerable children, the elderly and those with underlying illnesses from entering as they are at greater risk from COVID-19.
Places of worship may host ceremonies such as marriages, but measures must be taken to ensure the ceremony is conducted quickly and that the number of guests/attendees is no more than 20% of the room capacity and does not exceed 30 people. Everyone attending a ceremony in a place of worship must be healthy and free from COVID-19.
Failure to abide by the above protocols may result in the revocation of the certification allowing the place of worship to open.
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