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Jakarta Post

Bandung street vendors lose income as customers stay home amid COVID-19 policy

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Tue, April 7, 2020   /   08:53 am
Bandung street vendors lose income as customers stay home amid COVID-19 policy A street vendor sells Thai tea at her stall in Kayu Putih, East Jakarta. Many street vendors in Bandung, West Java, are losing income as a result of the government's physical distancing policy to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (JP/Dzulfiqar Fathur Rahman)

Gagan, a cake seller in Bandung, West Java, said he had barely made any money in the past weeks since authorities had imposed a physical distancing policy that required people to limit outdoor activities to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

The 29-year-old usually peddled his baked goods on Jl. Gardujati to earn around Rp 300,000 (US$18) per day before the pandemic reached Indonesian shores. Now, he was making almost no money.

Another street vendor, Enung, who made a living by selling nasi kuning (yellow rice with side dishes) near several schools on Jl. Dokter Radjiman, also had a similar experience. The stay-at-home policy, which included students, caused her losses of up to Rp 200,000 in daily income.

The Bandung Street Vendors Association (APPKL) said that between 900 and 1,500 members had lost their incomes during the health crisis. 

"They had stopped selling goods for almost three weeks," said APPKL Bandung head Iwan Suhermawan on Sunday.

The majority of affected vendors were those who sold food and clothing. Other vendors who sold basic commodities such as rice, fruit and vegetables were still surviving.

An online survey that the Bandung Legal Aid (LBH Bandung) conducted from March 26 to April 1 showed that unskilled laborers like street vendors and small businesses were among the most vulnerable to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"At least 526 out of the total 1,253 respondents reported a loss of income from their businesses," said Harold Aron of LBH Bandung's survey team. He added that the majority of respondents also hoped to receive government assistance, including loan relief.

Social movement Generasi Baru Dapur Indonesia (new Indonesian kitchen generation), together with APPKL Bandung, has launched the Bantu Pedagang Kecil (help small traders) crowdfunding program to distribute food aid to street vendors.

Generasi Baru Dapur Indonesia chairwoman Christine Effendy said that the program had so far distributed 600 packages, with each package containing rice, sugar, cooking oil, chicken, vegetables and milk.

"The next batch of aid will be distributed on April 7," Christine said, and that the beneficiaries had been divided into clusters to ease distribution and minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection. (vny)