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Jakarta Post

Jakarta mall tenants object to idea of citywide lockdown

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 17, 2020   /   07:35 am
Jakarta mall tenants object to idea of citywide lockdown It’s oh so quiet: A mall in Senayan, Central Jakarta, is relatively empty as retailers face the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which is putting to the test Indonesia’s economic resilience. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

Following announcements by Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan regarding the need for a city-wide lockdown of the capital to curb the spread of COVID-19, retailers fear the move would cripple Jakarta’s economy.

Indonesian Shopping Center Tenant Association (Hippindo) chairman Budihardjo Iduansjah said the association hoped the capital city wouldn’t be locked down.

“We hope the province will not be locked down, because the coronavirus disease can be prevented in other ways, depending on the system implemented by the government,” Budihardjo said on Monday as quoted by kompas.com.

He added that mall tenants were looking to adjust their operating hours in response to the COVID-19 outbreak as mall visitor numbers had slumped by up to 50 percent following the announcement of positive cases in the country earlier this month. The situation had worsened, he said, after an announcement by the central administration and the city administration over the weekend urging people to stay at home.

Anies said on Sunday that his administration was considering imposing a lockdown to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus. He said in his televised speech that he believed Jakarta needed to restrict activities and close ways for people to enter or leave Jakarta.

Read also: Lockdown not yet an option for Indonesia, says President

To overcome the situation, the association mulled opening stores from 11 a.m. and maximizing operations at night, Budihardjo said.

“We held a meeting on Friday but haven’t decided on much, as we are still waiting for the government’s policy. But the mall tenants’ wanted to open in the evening [due to the decreasing visitor numbers], so we agreed on doing that,” he said, adding that it could be a temporary measure to minimize losses.

While mall stores were planning to open later than usual, supermarkets were advised to open earlier to facilitate people shopping for essentials. 

He said the governor’s decision to close tourist destinations also affected the number of mall visitors, adding that the declining number of visitors only affected Jakarta so far.

“We still haven’t estimated the loss, because, for tenants, it is calculated from the cost per meter compared to the minimum sales target. It really depends on the size of their store.”

As of Monday, Indonesia has reported 117 confirmed cases of the respiratory illness, with five deaths.  (mfp)