“It's very quiet now. There are no buyers. But I want to go home too not I have work to do, ”said Vera, a woman from Banyuwangi who opened a handicraft business with her husband in the Ubud area.
A similar fate was experienced by Ida Ayu Tatiani, a trader on the German coast, Badung Regency, Bali. Since three months ago, he has not had any source of income and has only relied on basic food assistance from the village.
"There is no income whatsoever. Even though there is basic food assistance from the village, I'm tired of staying at home, ”said Dayu, her nickname.
Because of this, Dayu supports the regional government's plan to reopen tourist attractions in Bali. Even though he is worried about being exposed to the new corona virus, he admits that he doesn't have much other choice but to sell at tourist attractions.
The gloomy fate of Vera and Dayu is reflected in data from the Central Statistics Agency which notes that the number of foreign tourist visits to Bali in the January-May 2020 period is around 1,050,000 people. This number fell 54.47 percent compared to the same period last year.
As a result, economic growth in the Island of the Gods has slowed down to minus 1.14 percent in the first quarter of this year. This figure is far below the economic growth of the Island of the Gods which reached 5.6 percent in 2019.
The chairman of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) Badung, IGN Rai Suryawijaya, considered the reopening of the tourism sector as an inevitable step.
"If tourism is not opened soon, hotels will have more difficulties because of their increasingly limited financial capacity. More and more people will lose their jobs. So, productive by implementing strict health protocols should be an option at this time, "he said.
In contrast to most businesses which recently reopened on July 9, the Toya Devasya tourist attraction in Bangli Regency has opened early. The hot spring which is located on the shores of Lake Batur was closed for almost three months from March 23 to June 15, 2020.
"During the closure, some of our employees were sent home because we practically had no income at all, while expenses maintenance still have to be paid, "said one of the managers of Toya Devasya Hot Spring Waterpark, Marini Katherina.
Under normal conditions, according to Marini, Toya Devasya can get a gross income of up to Rp 100 million per day. Meanwhile, at this time, this bathing business has lost billions of Rupiah and has to lay off around three-quarters of its employees. Currently, only about 60 workers are still working at Toya Devasya.
"During the closure, they do cleaning, painting and various other jobs outside job desk-his. Because we did a big cleaning, "said Marini.
He claimed that the reopening of Toya Devasya was not only about maintaining the company's business. The local residents also urged the manager to open a bath.
"Because if we open it, the surrounding economy will also work. Many local people sell coffee, fried bananas or sell their agricultural products. If it's open here, he said there are visitors who stop shopping, "he said.
As an effort to prevent corona in tourist areas, the Bali regional government will implement a Health Protocol and Covid-19 Prevention certification system. The certification targets tourism objects, hotels, restaurants and various business establishments. The certification system is said to use various indicators in accordance with the standards cleanliness, health and safety (CHS) set by WHO and scheduled for completion next October.
"So the protocol for arrival, service and cleanliness of business premises must meet all of these indicators," said the Head of the Bali Tourism Office, Putu Astawa.
A public policy observer from Udayana University, Ni Made Ras Amanda Gelgel, said the Bali government should be more careful when re-opening the tourism faucet.
"Is it really ready? Are our health support facilities ready? If it is done in stages, is it measurable? It must be really measured, when will we enter the next stage or when we have to close it again, ”said Amanda.
Amanda recommended that the regional government work harder to reduce cases of Covid-19 infection.
"If it fails and the number of Covid-19 cases tends to increase, or even becomes a new cluster, it will be very difficult to restore the image of Bali. It will be in the spotlight of the world. Likewise, tourism in Bali is digging its own hole, "he said. (Ni Komang Erviani)