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THE IMPACT OF BUSINESS LIMITATION REGULATION IN JAKARTA DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON F & B BUSINESSES: ‘EITHER THE LOSS OF INCOME OR RISK OF DYING’

Jakarta has unfortunately become the biggest contributor to the spread of COVID-19 virus cases with a percentage of 20,3% (864.390 cases) of total cases as per 13 December 2021.1 The number of COVID-19 cases in Jakarta stole the Nation’s attention due to the dynamic increase of positive COVID-19 cases on July 2021 in which as many as 14.916 cases were reported every day. This was 12 fold increase compared to the previous month of June, where the number of cases of COVID-19 increased by only 1.185 cases per day. The increase of positive COVID-19 case at this point in time on 12 December 2021 is only 16 new cases per day.

In an attempt to contain the outbreak of COVID-19 in Jakarta, the Provincial Government of Jakarta established a policy on limitation of activities and community activities through Government Regulation of Jakarta Number 3 of 2021 regarding Implementation of Regulation Number 2 of 2020 regarding the countermeasures of Corona Virus Disease 2019 (GR 3/2021) Juncto Attachment on Jakarta Government Decision Number 1182 of 2021 regarding the enactment of Community Activities Limitation Level 3 Corona Virus Disease (GC 1182/2021). In addition, GR 3/2021 have explained under Article 26 that Restaurant owners, Cafés and other have to educate and implement the COVID-19 Prevention Protocols and conduct a limitation on the number of customers they serve. However in reality, even though such regulations have been passed, the spread of COVID-19 still continued. This may be due to the indifferent attitude of business owners in Jakarta regarding the situation. The F & B (Food and Beverage) Sector appears not to abide with the government regulations and enforcement is inconsistent.

Business Owners in F & B argue that their establishments need to earn a living and be profitable and therefore excuses the violation of the health protocols. They argue that that having a limitation to activity hinders their business in Jakarta by the implementation of Pemberlakuan Pembatasan Kegiatan Masyarakat (PPKM) from category level 1, 2, 3, and 4. They argue that this system has caused many businesses in the F & B sector to fail due to the lack of customers. Recently, the Provincial Ministry of Jakarta issued a Government Decree Number 1430 of 2021 regarding the Enactment of Community Activity Level 3 Corona Virus Disease Limitation, in which the decree limits the customers of restaurant to 50% (fifty percent) capacity and a time limit of 60 (sixty) minutes3 maximum for dining-in customers to be physically in the restaurant. This requirement will clearly further decrease the income of outlets in the F & B Sector.

The lax attitude of business owners and general non-compliance of businesses in the F & B sector caused the build up of crowds in the community, causing cluster spreads of COVID-19 virus cases. This cluster spread of COVID-19 naturally attracts the risk of death, which according to data per 9 December 2021, the total death caused by COVID-19 reached 13.583. It is expected to increase with each passing day.4 Aside from death, according to data in the year 2020, the economic loss from COVID-19 in Indonesia had reached 1.365 Trillion Rupiah.

The cooperation of the government, business owners and public are required. The PPKM framework was set up in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The prevention procedure will only be as effective as the willingness for businesses to abide to the applicable regulation. The business owners in the F & B sector have to educate their customers and employees regarding the COVID-19 prevention protocol. This includes the obligation to use masks, body temperature checks, implement physical interaction limitations, provide hand sanitizers, prevent sharing eating utensils, and are obliged to display information on the capacity of the venue, record customer data.6 Aside from that, the community ourselves must abide by the rules to further support the prevention of COVID-19. Lastly, the government is obliged to conduct better enforcement of these rules. Routine supervision to ensure all stakeholders implement and comply with health protocols is essential. Only this will ensure no further unnecessary loss of lives to COVID-19 in Indonesia. RAS/MAD/HES