Cinemas, restaurants, gyms may reopen as Jakarta loosens restrictions (again)

The Jakarta provincial government yesterday announced a loosening of restrictions, effective starting today, which allows for a gradual return to normal life after a month of strict restrictions.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan said the city-province is now adopting the Transitional Large-Scale Social Restriction (PSBB Transisi) after a month of PSBB proper. 

If it sounds like we’ve been here before, that’s because we have — Jakarta first enforced PSBB (which amounts to a partial lockdown) in April before loosening restrictions with PSBB Transisi in June. Cases soared during PSBB Transisi and the provincial government pulled the figurative “emergency brake” by reintroducing stricter restrictions under PSBB in September.

“Now that [cases] have stabilized, we are gradually releasing the hold on the brake. We stress that discipline must be observed so the chain of transmission is under control and we won’t have to pull the emergency brake again,” Anies said at a press conference yesterday.

The administration’s main justification in loosening restrictions is the relatively low active cases rate of 3.81 percent between Sept. 25-Oct.9, which is much lower than the 63.63 percent rate between Aug. 29-Sept. 11. Other factors include recent decreases in death rate and infection rate in the capital.

The current iteration of PSBB Transisi is in effect from Oct.12-25 and may be extended subject to review at the conclusion of the two-week period.

Under PSBB Transisi, businesses and facilities that had to shut under PSBB may now reopen with limited capacities and all the common health precautions. Most notably, offices of essential industries and services may operate at any capacity they see fit, while non-essential workplaces are limited to 50 percent capacity.

On the leisure side of things, cinemas and gyms are now allowed to reopen to 25 percent capacity. Cinemas were previously slated for reopening for the first time during the pandemic shortly before PSBB was reintroduced in September.

Restaurants can also reopen for dine-in to 50 percent seating capacity. Malls and traditional markets can open to 50 percent capacity, while tourist attractions can open to 25 percent capacity.

As of Oct. 11, Jakarta has confirmed 86,963 cases — the highest provincial caseload in Indonesia. Of those, 1,889 have died while 71,454 have recovered.

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