Bali conducts mass prayers for reopening after coronavirus lockdown
KARANGASEM (INDONESIA) – Bali held mass prayers on Sunday as the Indonesian resort island geared up to reopen to tourists, which was closed down due to COVID-19.
More than a thousand people attended a prayer at Besakih Hindu temple in the town of Karangasem, in Bali. They expressed their gratitude for the way the new coronavirus was dealt with on the island and they also sought blessings to start of a “new normal”.
Bali has recorded 1,849 coronavirus infections and 20 deaths so far, while Indonesia as a whole has recorded 63,749 cases and 3,171 deaths since early March.
Bali provincial secretary Dewa Made Indra told reporters that the tranquil and beautiful Southeast Asian island will gradually open its gateway this month for domestic tourists, while maintaining a “strict health protocol” to prevent further spreading of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Foreign arrivals are expected by the local government to start in September.
The occupancy rate at Bali’s starred hotels came down to 2.07% in May, according to Bali statistics bureau data, from 62.55% in December before the advent of the pandemic and down from 51.56% in May 2019. Robin Tesselar, a Dutch citizen staying in Bali, told after attending the Besakih prayers, “What I hope is the best for Bali and … all the tourists will come to Bali and everybody will be happy and healthy again.”
Tourism-related businesses are bracing for the reopening by implementing the health protocols, with an aim of improving them until Bali reopens for international tourists, said hospitality executive Yoga Iswara.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field.