As we head quickly to the time of year when we are planning a break, preparing to add more dining pleasures and maybe even preparing a party at home, the warning bells are already ringing in the government offices… and they don’t need to be! But it looks PPKM (social restrictions) will be increased for the holiday period, between 24 December 2021 to 3 January 2022, across the whole country, including Bali.

The hotel and restaurant industry is gearing up to try to take a little revenue back after two long years of restrictions, lockdowns and closures. And they need that income desperately. But at the same time the government is quite anxious to avoid a ‘spike’ in COVID-19 cases from increased mobility and gatherings at the Festive Season, which is quite understandable. It has happened before…

So how to combine these two very important and contradictory needs? Actually, it’s easy: if it’s safe to operate as we are doing now, and it seems to be, let’s make the limits of travel, dining, drinking and gathering the same as now! People are already enjoying great liberties at the moment; restaurants, bars and public spaces are enjoying a certain level of crowd. If this continues into Christmas and New Years, that’s great! We don’t have to double down on the huge festive parties and events, but to be reeling back the freedoms doesn’t seem logical.

Celebrations don’t have to be any bigger, and restrictions don’t have to be any more stringent either. Seems a fair compromise?

We had better not let hotels go to full capacity, and keep restaurants and bars as they are now. If they want to have Christmas Lunches and Dinners that’s great, change the menu but don’t change the rules! Let’s not have the extra flights to Bali, Lombok and Jogja. Just stay as we are. Things are getting better and are at a manageable level…

Yes, people need to relax and wind down at year end… but we can also encourage them to do so outdoors. We can promote walks & cycling, barbecues and park events, not necessarily huge parties. There are many options!

There is no need to close entertainment venues like cinemas or aquariums, just limit the numbers, get the systems right and phase the entrances and exits & exits . All it takes is discipline and good management. Surely we can do that and keep our hospitality or food and beverage industries alive. Thousands of jobs – and lives – depend on it!

What are your thoughts on the matter?

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G. Speirs

Alistair G Speirs, OBE, is the Publisher of NOW! Magazines. He has been in the publishing, advertising and PR business for the last 25 years. He started both NOW! Bali and NOW! Jakarta as each region's preferred community magazine.