With Jakarta set to return to another phase of strict Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) next week, malls throughout the capital are collectively urging the capital’s government to hold back on enforcing the policy as they fear for negative impacts on business continuity.
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“Our economy, which has started to move a little, is bound to fall again. Moreover, all prices have gone up. Land and building tax have gone up, parking tax has gone up, street lighting tax has also gone up. And now [the malls] are about to be closed again. I think [PSBB] will take a heavy toll on malls,” Stefanus Ridwan, chairman of Indonesian Shopping Center Management Association (APPBI), said yesterday.
Stefanus suggested for the Jakarta government to be more strict when it comes to sanctioning health protocol violators instead of closing down malls, arguing that people will likely still still gather in crowds despite businesses and shopping malls being closed.
“We want the governor to cancel [strict PSBB]. I think the problem lies in the imposition of sanctions. Curfew should take place if possible, because curfew is still uncontrollable. Supervision on things like these should be improved.”
In addition, Stefanus also noted how strict PSBB will be detrimental to mall tenants, which he said have spent large sums of money to comply with COVID-19 health protocols. He’s hoping no malls will go bankrupt this year, alluding to their fragile financial situation due to restrictions during the pandemic.
Malls in Jakarta have reopened since mid-June as part of the transitional phase of PSBB (PSBB Transisi), which saw restrictions on public facilities and activities being eased. However, leisure facilities such as cinemas, fitness centers, and karaoke places have not yet been allowed to reopen.
In addition to standard COVID-19 protocols, several leading malls in Jakarta have adjusted their facilities to the “new normal” way of living. Shopping centers such as Pondok Indah Mall and Senayan City, for instance, have installed touchless elevator buttons to minimize the risk of transmission — as shown in our video below:
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