How Covid-19 affects Bali and its annual rituals of Silence Day
Covid-19 affects Bali mostly in the economic and tourism sectors. Bali is a small island with all of the fun activities and cheap beers. Everyone from all around the world come to enjoy the warm tides and the magnificent sunset. Bali is holding Nyepi day on 25th March, where they shut down the whole island for 24 hours. Usually, visitors are crowding the hotels to witness this cultural event. However, as Covid-19 was declared as a global pandemic, this small paradise is getting fewer and fewer visitors. How Covid-19 affect Tourism and the local economy in Bali?
Covid-19 affects Bali: Tourism Sectors are slowing down
Covid-19 spread easily through sneeze, cough, or even through places where most people touch. Many people are campaigning for #socialdistancing, to support individual isolation. That is to educate the majority to participate in slowing down the spread of the virus. The local governor then appeals to entrepreneurs to shut down their cafes, bar, and restaurant temporarily. Unfortunately, Bali relies heavily on its tourism sectors. A few weeks ago the government tried to increase the tourism sectors by implying low domestic flight tickets. Since the hotels are getting fewer and fewer visitors, the prices fell down to the point that it became another attraction. However, it is still dangerous to travel at this moment.
Silence Day prolonged for self-quarantine
Bali celebrates Silence Day annually as a part of religious rituals for a long time ago. The entire population of Bali could not go outside, play loud music, or turn on their lights at night. This ritual helped the island to reduce pollution and electricity use in 24 hours. This year is a little bit different though. Currently, the spread of Covid-19 forced the government to take emergency action to stop people from going out. This applied on the 26th of March when Silence day was prolonged. Local officials then closed all the roads, prohibiting people to go out.
This spark a lot of responses coming from the locals, since most people do not have enough food supplies for 2 days full quarantine. Some people who work shifts were also unable to return home due to sudden road closure. Local Government had insisted on this act to protect people from celebrating Ngembak Geni or the day where family visits one another after the Silence Day.
Covid-19 affects Bali which is why most stores, restaurants, even local markets are closing down. Hotels are also on the brink of bankruptcy due to low visitors. Furthermore, Bali considers taking extreme steps if necessary which is a lockdown. But that would affect the economic and tourism sectors as a whole. Currently, the local government had taken some actions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 by spraying disinfectant to public places. The Government also had prepared millions of Rupiahs to fund Sanglah Public Hospital in case Covid-19 spread. Unfortunately, Bali has not yet capable to process Covid-19 test. Test Outcomes are being processed outside of Bali and it takes as long as a week to get the result.
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