Regional Governments Must Create Innovations to Maintain People’s Productivity during Pandemic
People’s productivity during COVID-19 pandemic plays a significant role in economic recovery that many regions, including Bogor City and Banyuwangi Regency, must innovate to maintain and stimulate regional economy.
In that respect, Mayor of Bogor Bima Arya has imposed micro and community-scale social restrictions (PSBMK). Bogor City Government has also established COVID-19 Detectives involving 1,167 personnel who is tasked to monitor mobility of COVID-19 patients.
“We focus on neighboring units (RW) in red zones. This action is called ‘tracing’. Once we received a confirmed case notification from the Health Agency, we deploy the personnel to trace,” Bima Arya said at virtual discussion titled “Maintaining People’s Productivity and Security during Pandemic” organized by COVID-19 Mitigation and National Economic Recovery Committee.
In red zones, Bogor Government imposed restrictions to public activities that involve crowd, such as social activities and religious activities. In addition, Bogor City has also anticipated large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) imposed by Jakarta provincial government.
When restaurants and malls in Jakarta are closed, the people went to Bogor. Thus, the Bogor Government formed ‘Eagle Team’ to anticipate it. The team which involved Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association (HIPMI), youth organization, and the National Committee of Indonesian Youth (KNPI) in Bogor City carry out patrols each day to restaurants.
“Restaurants flouting the restriction policy will be imposed with sanction or fine. There are some that must pay Rp5 million in fines or must be closed,” Bima firmly said.
In order to disseminate the danger of COVID-19 to the public, Bogor Government has formed ‘Dove Team’ consisting of health staff, religious figures, and volunteers. A survey conducted by the team shows that 25 percent of the people believe the virus is human-made and part of conspiracy, while 50 percent are skeptical about the virus.
“Therefore, we monitor the activities, impose sanction, restrict public activities, and educate the people,” he said.
On the other hand, the Bogor Government took several strategic measures to recover the regional economy by giving tax relief to hotels, restaurants, entertainment places, parking lots. The regional government also provided tax incentive by cutting Building and Land Acquisition Taxes (BPHTB) and providing relaxation to economic units. In upholding the health protocols, tax payment can be made through online system.
In an effort to rebuild the regional economy, the Bogor Government stimulated natural tourism sector to replace hotel as the main regional revenue.
“We created several tourist destination spots and conducted marketing on social media. Some spots have shown good results,” he said.
The City also adopted urban farm since demand of vegetables saw a rise by 300 percent during the pandemic. The urban farm will be connected to traditional markets, malls, and restaurants, so that the people can be productive at work and the result eventually contributed to the economic strengthening.
In the meantime, Regent of Banyuwangi Abdullah Azwar Anas said that to anticipate a decline in regional revenue which was mainly sourced from tourism sector, he had coordinated with related stakeholders such as the owners of tourist destination spots, restaurants, and other related industries.
According to him, style of business and tourism must be changed after the pandemic, from prioritizing the activities to the strict health protocols.
“Certifications for restaurants and food stalls must be carried out, and those violating the health protocols will be imposed with sanctions. Since we have limited resources in Public Order Agency, all units can monitor the restaurants and food stalls,” Azwar said.
In addition, tour guides will receive training regarding the implementation of health protocols so they can adapt to the changes in business and tourism styles.
In promoting tourism sector in Banyuwangi, the regional government has also adopted marketing digitalization that provides ease to the tourists to visit destination spots. However, Banyuwangi Regency Government also imposed tight regulation to visitors entering Banyuwangi and require them to show results of rapid tests before entering.
“We limit visitors in Kawah Ijen area; they must purchase the ticket through online service. By doing so, we have received public’s trust. Based on a survey conducted by Traveloka, Banyuwangi is the third most favorite tourism destination after Yogyakarta and Bali, though Banyuwangi is not included in priority tourism destinations,” he said.
During weekends, hotel occupancy reached 90 to 100 percent. Some of the hotels offer staycation where guests can enjoy great view from the hotel. For the record, Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment has recommended Banyuwangi as destination for government’s agenda.
“The recommendation brings great benefits for regional economy,” Azwar said. (COVID-19 Mitigation and National Economic Recovery Committee Communication Team/PEN)
Translated by : Rany Anjany
Reviewed by: Muhardi