The Jakarta Post
Residents in Greater Jakarta will not be able to commemorate Indonesia’s 75th Independence Day with big and festive celebrations as in previous years, because authorities have opted for limited gatherings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local administrations in Greater Jakarta said celebrations that require face-to-face meetings would be restricted or prohibited as transitional large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) are still in place.
The Jakarta administration would still allow celebrations in public, as long as they would not cause crowds, said Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) head Arifin.
"We discourage residents from carrying out any event to celebrate Independence Day that could attract crowds, where people can’t maintain a physical distance," he said on Wednesday as reported by tribunnews.com.
"We will certainly disperse [crows and large events] because they violate health protocols.”
The decision was made to protect the public from COVID-19 transmission risks as Jakarta’s infection rate has shown no signs of slowing down.
Arifin urged the public to conduct online competitions instead to prevent crowds.
"Residents should be creative and come up with attractions that suit the current situation,” he added.
Arifin asked residents not to play panjat pinang, a traditional game of climbing a slippery pole that various prizes are hung up on to be taken off by climbers. Events featuring this game tend to draw big crowds.
He said the city administration was preparing a circular to set out what activities should and should not be permitted to celebrate Independence Day this year.
The Tangerang administration in Banten will have a virtual commemoration, Tangerang Communications and Information Agency head Mualim said.
“Given that the PSBB are still in place, we will still hold some August 17 competitions, but at our respective homes,” he said on Tuesday as reported by kompas.com.
The online competitions will include typical Independence Day contests, such as balloon dancing, rubber relay, bicycle decoration, eating crackers and putting nails into bottles. Participants will upload videos to social media showing them joining the games at their homes.
Meanwhile, the Depok administration in West Java will completely prohibit public celebrations that require direct physical contact on Independence Day. Depok Mayor Mohamad Idris has issued a circular stipulating the ban.
Even so, Idris said that, to enliven the August 17 commemoration, residents were allowed to install decoration in buildings, offices, business premises and dwellings as well as put up banners in their neighborhood.
The State Secretariat previously issued a circular stipulating guidelines for this year’s Independence Day ceremony, in which the government invites all Indonesian people to stand from 10:17 to 10:20 a.m. on Aug. 17 and sing the national anthem, “Indonesia Raya”.
“An exception is granted to residents who may endanger themselves or others if they stop their activities,” Idris said.
Previously, Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Wishnutama Kusubandio said he would telecast a 60-minute video displaying public creativity from various parts of the country as the commemoration would go digital.
Only a handful of state dignitaries would physically attend the national flag-hoisting ceremony. (syk/nal)