Sunday, October 1, 2023

From Overcrowded Market to Family Visits: Jakartans Defy Covid-19 Warnings to Prepare for Idul Fitri

Nur Yasmin
May 23, 2020 | 2:29 am
Jakartans flock street vendors near Tanah Abang market in Jakarta last Monday, disregarding rule of physical distancing. (Antara Photo/Aditya Pradana Putra)
Jakartans flock street vendors near Tanah Abang market in Jakarta last Monday, disregarding rule of physical distancing. (Antara Photo/Aditya Pradana Putra)

Jakarta. Jakartans disobey Covid-19 warnings and flock shopping centers around the city to get the Idul Fitri essentials – new clothes, new shoes, cookies, and sweets to celebrate the holiday on Sunday on Monday. 

Tanah Abang Market in Central Jakarta, for example, saw hundreds of customers during the last week. The market is famous for buying clothes, cookies, and other needs for Idul Fitri. Beef, lamb, and chicken are also hunted down by mothers to make the holiday staples, from world-famous rendang to chicken curry with coconut milk, opor ayam, and the must-have rice cake, ketupat.  

The merchants said they needed income for their livelihood after having to shut down their business ever since the city efforced PSBB. The Municipal Police eventually told them to leave the pedestrian area. However, this does not stop them from selling, as they would just move to another area.


Pondok Gede market in Bekasi is also full of customers buying groceries and meet. Markets in Cakung, East Jakarta, and Kebayoran Lama, South Jakarta, are crowded with pedestrian merchants and customers. As a result, police sanctioned about 50 customers and merchants who did not wear masks.

Despite the chilling sight, most of the people have the courtesy to wear a face mask when they leave their home.

Ika Febrianti, a 29-year-old Jakartan, said she still go out occasionally to shop, including for Idul Fitri.

"I need to buy ingredients to make cookies and dumplings for Idul Fitri. I wear a mask and bring hand sanitizer, so I think I will be safe," she told JakartaGlobe, in Jakarta, on Friday.

Ika said she is not shopping for new clothes because markets are overcrowded, and she's afraid to go there.

Sundus, a 43-year-old mother, goes shopping to the supermarket for Idul Fitri groceries because traditional markets are closed. However, she chose to shop for new clothes online.

"Markets are dangerous. I bought all my clothes online. I go to the supermarket only when I need to buy our monthly needs, especially with Idul Fitri approaching on Sunday. I need to buy snacks, cleaning supplies, and soft drinks for guests," she said.

Halal Bihalal During Pandemic?

Senior government officials, including Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, plead to Indonesians to opt for video calls to celebrate Idul Fitri with families instead of visiting their homes. He assured that by doing so, people would uphold Islamic teaching to 'do good and avoid the harm' that is Covid-19.

However, people's eagerness to gather with families do not wane.

Ika told Jakarta Globe that her whole family will still go to other relatives' houses in Jakarta and Bekasi, but she will prep herself with masks and hand sanitizer.

"I will keep my distance from other relatives unless I'm sure they are safe to be near with," she said.

While Sundus said her family is expecting guests to come over to her home on Idul Fitri, but she will prepare a handwashing station at her house entrance.

"I will set a bucket of water, hand soap, and hand sanitizer at the entrance," she said.

Meanwhile, over 300,000 vehicles have left Jakarta for Idul Fitri exodus from May 17 to 21, according to a record from toll-road operator Jasa Marga. The number fell 59 percent from last year.

Indonesia recorded over 20,000 cases on Friday, and the number has not shown a sign of slowing down, even with large-scale social restriction (PSBB) in place as residents not following the physical distancing rules consistently.  

For the trends of Covid-19 new cases in Indonesia and all of its provinces, please follow this link

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