The Governor of Bali has announced that the island will officially be reopening its borders for international tourism on September 11th, 2020.
The Bali Governor signed a new Decree concerning the ‘New Era of Life Order Protocol’ which regulates the reopening of the Bali economy.
The decree states that the third stage will carry out broad tourism activities including reopening Bali for international tourism.
The announcement was made at the end of a mass prayer in Bali to ask for the permission, blessing, guidance, and protection of God.
“For this reason, we surrender completely and sincerely, while pleading with Him to be pleased to give the best gift to all of us,” Governor Koster said after the worship of Pemahayu Jagad in Pura Besakih.
Bali Governor, Wayan Koster announced in the new decree that there will be three phases to the reopening of Bali’s economy.
Overseas tourists will be able to visit Bali in just eight weeks after the island shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
International travelers will be able to visit the popular holiday destination from September 11, and domestic tourists from July 31, Bali Governor Wayan Koster announced on Sunday.
The island will undergo three phases to recover its economy that was crippled in the wake of the virus outbreak – with the last stage set to allow international visitors.
But as coronavirus cases continue to climb in Indonesia, experts have warned there are more deaths to come and holidaymakers should move with ‘caution’.
Governor Koster urged Bali locals to ensure they continue to wear face masks, socially distance and ‘diligently wash hands’.
‘I must underline that these plans will only come to reality with God’s blessing as well as co-operation, collective responsibility and solidarity from all layers of Balinese society,’ he said.
‘Reopening the tourism industry will help restart the economy in a phased manner.’
The first phase which will come into effect from July 9 will allow businesses to reopen in Bali.
A string of services like markets, restaurants, finance, construction and health will all start operating again.
Tours and tourism attractions across the island will also be reopened as part of the second phase on July 31 as domestic travellers are allowed to visit.
This will include beaches, temples, waterfalls and other popular tourist activities.
The third phase on September 11 is set to allow international visitors.
Tourists crowd on the beach before the coronavirus lockdown in February in Kuta, Bali
Gusti Ngurah Mahardika, a virologist from Bali’s Udayana University, warned Indonesia was only now hitting its peak in COVID-19 cases.
‘The number of infections we are seeing in Bali is just the tip of the iceberg; at the same time, the number of COVID-19 deaths is increasing,’ Dr Mahardika told The Australian.
‘I would suggest the Bali administration sit and discuss with experts, analyze the data and evaluate the situation based on that.’
Despite the warnings surrounding social distancing, more than 100 tourists were photographed last month at an illegal yoga event.
Instructor Wissam Barakeh, 45 was responsible for holding a yoga retreat in Bali’s cultural hub Ubud which sparked outrage across the island.
He was previously forced to make an apology after images of the The House of Om event showed tourists crammed into a tiny space with no face masks in sight.
Barakeh has since been arrested, and is being held at an immigration center until his deportation flights to his home country of Syria are arranged.