Covid-19 is hitting the world and it is also affecting Indonesia and Bali. We will post the latest updates on the development and corona situation in Bali.
The evolution of the pandemic in Bali
Covid-19 Bali. The beginning of the pandemic
Due to the spread of the virus in the world in March 2020, Indonesia decided to close its borders. The government suspended all tourist Visas On Arrival until further notice. At the same time it imposed rules of “Social distancing”, carrying out information and education campaigns, imposing the use of masks and asking people to stay at home.
In Candidasa, there was never a curfew or ban on going out, as long as safety and hygiene protocols were followed.
Data: on May 29, the data in Bali are 387 infected people and 4 deaths caused by Covid-19.
The situation remains the same for the following months. Borders remain closed and social distancing rules are mandatory. In July, cases are still quite low on the island compared to the rest of the world.
On July 2, the official data are 1,050 infected people and 14 deaths from Corona virus.
Bali reopening plan
At that time the government announced a “New Era of Life Order Protocol”. It is a plan to start work on the opening of Bali and Indonesia. The reopening will take place in three stages.
Stage I begins on July 9th. From this date all tourist activities within Bali are opened, including scuba diving. We can’t get in or out of the island yet, but we can finally re-open our doors!
The second stage begins on July 31st. Indonesia is open to domestic tourism and Indonesians and expats living in the country can fly between islands for tourism purposes.
The third stage happens at the end of August. It is when the government re-evaluates the data and decides if the borders can be opened to international tourists. They agree as a possible opening date on September 11th, 2020.
But unfortunately Covid-19 cases continues to grow. The figures registered in Bali are 5,000 infections and 65 deaths. But in other islands, specially in Java figures are much higher. As a consequence, on August 30, the President of Indonesia decides that the country is not yet ready to open its borders.
December 202o update
In December Bali is open for national tourism, but international borders are still closed and there is no option to enter the country with a Tourist Visa On Arrival.
However, the Indonesian government is issuing electronic Business Visas, allowing foreigners to enter the country and stay up to 6 months. Visa agencies like Bali Legals and Bali Visas are processing these visas. You can contact them for information regarding how to apply for this visa.
Covid-19 Bali. January 2021 update
Indonesia is closing its borders to foreign travellers from all around the world until January 28 amid concerns over the discovery of a more infectious SARS-CoV-2 variant first detected in the United Kingdom.
The decision to close its borders is just the second time since the COVID-19 outbreak spread through the country, as Indonesia continues seeing a steady rise in positive cases nine months into the pandemic.
Bali has recorded more than 19,987 confirmed cases, 17,606 recovered and upwards of 573 deaths from the disease, according to the official tally as of January 12. The high positivity rate and a low testing capacity serve to indicate that the true scale of the crisis could be much bigger. A more infectious strain of COVID-19 could prove catastrophic if adequate measures are not introduced.
Note: To be mindful that Bali or Indonesia plans on reopening the borders may change without prior notice. For this reason, we advise you to contact Indonesia’s consulate/embassy in your country to discuss the travel requirements before booking a flight.
We will continue to await the official news regarding the opening of Indonesia. We will keep you informed.
How is the pandemic affecting the people living in Bali?
Bali’s economy is highly dependent on tourism. At the start of the pandemic, many companies chose to give mandatory vacations to all staff. The next step was to keep their workers at 50% to cover the minimum maintenance tasks and take care of the few guest that there might be. With the time, some companies are still open, but many others are closing since they cannot cover the expenses and there is no money to pay the salaries of the employees.
To this day, most of the Balinese have lost their jobs and went back to farming and fishing to survive.
Government support to business is very little and specifically for diving center it just does not exist.
What about diving?
In March, with the closing of borders and the prohibition of carrying out any tourist activity, we had to temporarily close the diving center, put away all the equipment and stay at home with all the care, avoiding going out except for essential needs.
At the end of April, due to the great impact that these measures cause on the economy and the few cases of infections registered in Candidasa area, the local authorities allow us to go diving, only in our area (Candidasa) and alone, with no guest.
This gives us a break as people and as divers. Although the business is still closed, with all the financial problems that it entails, we can continue to enjoy our passion, we can go diving. This gives us the opportunity to see how the reefs look like after this break and also to go to explore new dive sites.
It’s times for learning about Covid-19 and prepare ourselves for the re-opening
During all these months we follow the news day by day. We listen to the regulations imposed by the Indonesian government and to the experts of the diving industry and their recommendations. We work stet by step in the opening process, making the necessary modifications to guarantee the safety of both our team and the clients, so that in the future they can enjoy a safe diving vacation with us.
And the situation remained that way until July 9th. On that day the government allows all activities in Bali to resume as long as they follow new normal protocols. It’s the time when we can finally re-open the dive center and it continues open to this day.
For those of you who are in Indonesia and want to enjoy diving at the calmest moment in the last decades, now is your chance!
Bali is even more beautiful now with less people, less traffic and less noise. For us it is a privilege to be able to enjoy the island and diving at this time. It is a privilege that we would love to share with you.
And for international tourists, perhaps right now traveling the world and diving is not their first concern. The most important thing at this time is to stay in good health, to help families, friends and colleagues. When this whole situation is under control and everything returns to its normal course, perhaps traveling and diving will be within your plans again, then you will be able to appreciate even more the privilege of being able to do so. When the time comes, we’ll be happy to blow bubbles together with you.
We will be here in Candidasa waiting for you.
There is a lot of information and misinformation in the media regarding Covid-19. It is important to listen to official and trusted sources. For all the accurate updates, travel tips and support you can check out WHO Indonesia and the Official CDC website.
At SDDC we continue working to keep you informed and adapt to the new times!
You may also be interested in Coronavirus and diving – New Normal Protocols