Home Ministry Issues Circular to Regulate Eid Al-Fitr Gatherings

Jakarta – Home Affairs Minister Tito Karnavian issued a ministerial circular to regulate Eid al-Fitr gatherings, locally known as halalbihalal, to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases.

“On account of the Eid al-Fitr celebration and to prevent COVID-19 cases from surging, it is important that residents, governors, and mayors/district heads take notice (of this circular) to regulate halalbihalal activities being organized,” the minister stated here on Saturday.

The circular instructed regional leaders to observe the prevailing Home Minister’s Instruction on activities restriction enforcement (PPKM) levels 3, 2, 1, that affect their region before allowing Eid gathering activities.

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Halalbihalal activities in regions with level 3 PPKM must be restricted to 50 percent of the total venue capacity, while residents in regions with level 2 PPKM can organize the gathering activity by observing a 75-percent capacity restriction at the venue, and halalbihalal activities in regions with level 1 PPKM can be organized without capacity restriction.

The circular also instructed organizers of halalbihalal activities, with more than 100 participants, to not serve foods and beverages in a buffet, and instead, serve the food in packages that can be brought home.

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“Communal dining, which makes participants take off their masks (to eat), must be avoided because the situation will increase the vulnerability of COVID-19 infection,” according to the ministry’s circular.

Strict health protocols, subject to further regulation from the regional authority yet at least must include wearing masks, washing hands or using hand sanitizer, and physical distancing must be observed during Eid gathering activities.

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Earlier, Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto noted that the government will regulate the obligation to comply with COVID-19 health protocols during Eid gatherings.

Hartarto, who concurrently serves as chairman of the Committee for COVID-19 Handling and National Economic Recovery (KPC-PEN), said the government has advised against communal dining during halalbihalal activities.

However, if people decide to organize communal dining, then they must follow the applicable health protocols, Hartarto emphasized.

Anang Fadhilah/rls