Jakarta , May 25, 2020 (ANTARA) -
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has asked Indonesians, and businesses
entities in particular, to prepare to coexist with COVID-19, which would
necessitate a new normal of social distancing and observance of health
For the country, which has been battling the pandemic since early March
this year, finding ways to coexist with COVID-19 would not imply giving
up the fight against the deadly virus, he asserted.
Instead, it would involve carrying out normal activities peacefully,
safely, productively, and comfortably by following the new health
protocols to safeguard against coronavirus spread, as, currently, no
vaccines have been developed against the infection.
The safety of the public must remain priority, the President remarked.
In preparation for the transition toward a new normal amid the lingering
pandemic, the government is drafting protocols for various activities
to ensure that people stay safe and healthy, Coordinating Minister for
Economic Affairs, Airlangga Hartarto, said.
"This will be discussed in detail and will be decided by the President.
We are now studying the concept technically and comprehensively,"
Airlangga said, adding that the new normal will demand strong discipline
on part of the public.
In Jakarta, the country’s capital and COVID-19 epicenter, Governor Anies
Bawesdan has projected that normalcy will be restored and local
residents will resume activities after the third round of large-scale
social distancing (PSBB) ends.
"If we all remain disciplined, Jakarta can return to a new normal. Many
people usually call it a new normal to refer to a new situation instead
of a pre-pandemic situation," he remarked at the Jakarta City Hall on
May 20, 2020.
However, Jakarta residents are expected to not reduce their adherence to
a disciplined lifestyle under new normal conditions, he said.
“This (COVID-19 fight) is not yet over. I want to underscore that there
is no relaxation. Do not think it is relaxed. Do not feel that it is
over," he cautioned.
Achmad Yurianto, the government’s spokesperson for COVID-19 response,
has also reiterated that amid the ongoing pandemic, the public will have
to adapt to a new normal, while being productive.
"We need to still be productive, while prioritizing principles to
protect ourselves from COVID-19. This then would become a fundamental
behavior change for all of us, and this is what we are calling the new
normal," he explained.
People, he said, need to get used to practicing health protocols, such
as keeping a safe distance from others, using masks, and selectively
choosing appropriate moments to leave home.
As for businesses, State-Owned Enterprises (SOE) Minister Erick Thohir
has ordered all state-owned companies to set up COVID-19 task forces and
prepare guidelines for the implementation of the new normal.
The guidelines would contain a timeline for implementing the new normal,
the SOE Minister stated in letter number S- 336 /MBU/05/2020 that
ANTARA received recently.
The SOE COVID-19 task forces would prepare the timeline by referring to
policies laid down by the SOE Ministry, the National Disaster Mitigation
Agency (BNPB), and the Health Ministry, while taking into account the
potency of respective clusters and regions.
The task forces will also be required to draft COVID-19 protocols on
necessary matters, including human capital and culture, process and
technology, as well as business continuity.
In the meantime, the tourism industry, the first sector to be affected
by the COVID-19 pandemic, is facing a set back of 58-78 percent in 2020.
In accordance with the President’s directive, however, Indonesia's
Tourism and Creative Economy Minister, Wishnutama Kusubandio, has urged
the tourism industry to implement health protocols as part of the new
"Health and security protocols will attract tourists. We continue to
work hard to formulate strategic moves to prepare a health protocol in
an effort to accelerate the recovery of the tourism sector," he stated.
The minister was upbeat about Indonesia's tourism industry recovering
sooner than expected, or taking less than five years to return to
The closure of tourist destinations owing to the pandemic should be
viewed as an opportunity to evaluate and rearrange locations so
operators can improvise services and bring about sustainable tourism
development, he said.
"We have to work towards ensuring faster recovery of the tourism sector.
We fully understand that tourism is the backbone of the economy," he
As for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the Indonesian
Institute of Sciences (LIPI) has projected shifts and new-fangled
business models as part of the new normal to help people conduct
businesses even as the coronavirus continues to persist.
MSME is one of the sectors that bore the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to sustain in such a challenging scenario, the MSME business
models need to capitalize on suitable technologies, either existing ones
or those that can be developed further, Laksana Tri Handoko, the
institute's chairman, stated.
The technology can take shape in the form of packaging of local food
products and diversification of existing products, he pointed out.
During the enactment of PSBB, customers were unable to eat at
restaurants or cafes. Under such conditions, packaging food and
diversifying products can create market opportunities and potentially
boost revenues for MSME businesses, he remarked.
For instance, the meat-based dish empal gentong, popular in Cirebon, West Java, can be packaged in cans and sold in markets nationwide, he said.
In terms of product diversification, diners that initially only sold
riced corn can start producing corn- or cassava-based noodles. The
products can then be packaged and sent to different areas and sold
within networks, he added.
The pandemic has forced people across the world to brace for a
fundamental shift, and hopefully, the new normal will not just benefit
humans, but also have a positive impact on the planet, its flora and