The Jakarta Post
Reports have emerged that numerous vendors have set up shop in Tanah Abang Market in Central Jakarta ahead of Idul Fitri despite the large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) currently in effect.
Vendors were seen assembling their tents and arranging items on pedestrian lanes in the area on Monday. Nearly all the blocks of the Southeast Asia’s largest textile market remain officially closed.
Instagram user @kelasmojo posted on Monday a series of photos and videos depicting several traders claiming space on pedestrian lanes.
Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) head Arifin said the traders began setting up shop on Sunday despite the agency’s strict supervision.
“The crowds in Tanah Abang only lasted [for a few hours],” he told The Jakarta Post on Monday.
“Satpol PP personnel have closely guarded the area, but several vendors must have resumed their businesses when the personnel were on a break,” he added.
Arifin said that in addition to monitoring the market area, the agency had closed a number of hotels and lodges around Tanah Abang in recent weeks ahead of the Islamic holy day.
“These businesses are also restricted under PSBB. Let’s not just blame the small vendors,” he said.
Tanah Abang district head Yassin Pasaribu said those who had taken to the pedestrian lanes were all clothing vendors and were not exempt from PSBB.
“We have tried [dispersing the crowds],” Yassin said on Sunday as quoted by kompas.com, adding that the makeshift shops were open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
He said the clothing vendors could no longer wait for the reopening of the shopping blocks because the days leading up to Idul Fitri were normally among the most profitable periods for the businesses.
“Several vendors have tried to set up shop over the last few days. But it hasn’t been as crowded as it was today,” Yassin said.
Tanah Abang Market was the first city-owned market to close because of the COVID-19 outbreak in the capital city.
In March, PD Pasar Jaya shut down all activities in Tanah Abang Market for 10 days, from March 27 to April 5.
Almost all shopping blocks in the market remain closed. Operation in Block G is restricted to grocers, according to PD Pasar Jaya president director Arief Nasrudin.
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The famous textile market is home about 10,000 tenants and generates daily sales of up to Rp 100 billion (US$ 6.20 million). It is located in the busy Tanah Abang area, where the surrounding streets are also filled with traders and vendors.
The market is typically at its busiest ahead of the month of Ramadan and Idul Fitri, when people arrive from all over the country to purchase goods in bulk to sell in their home regions.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan has imposed PSBB on the capital until May 22 to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases. It remains unclear whether the administration will extend the restrictions until after Idul Fitri.
Jakarta, the epicenter of the outbreak in Indonesia, had confirmed 5,922 COVID-19 cases and 478 deaths as of Sunday.