Indonesia’s island, Bali begins to reopen after 3-month coronavirus lockdown

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of the new coronavirus and seeking blessings for the start of a “new normal”, at Besakih temple in Karangasem, Bali, Indonesia, July 5, 2020.(via REUTERS)Updated: Jul 09, 2020 12:35 ISTBy Press Trust of India | Posted by: Alfea Jamal , Denpasar

Indonesia’s resort island of Bali reopened after a three-month virus lockdownThursday, allowing local people and stranded foreign tourists to resume public activities before foreign arrivals resume in September.

Normally bustling beaches and streets on the idyllic Southeast Asian island emptied in early April except for special patrols to ensure health protocols to contain the coronavirus were observed.

Authorities restricted public activities, closed the airport and shuttered all shops, bars, sit-down restaurants, public swimming pools and many other places on the island that’s home to more than 4 million people.Tourists are seen at Kuta beach, Bali, Indonesia on Thursday, July 9, 2020. Indonesia's resort island of Bali reopened after a three-month virus lockdown Thursday, allowing local people and stranded foreign tourists to resume public activities before foreign arrivals resume in September.

Tourists are seen at Kuta beach, Bali, Indonesia on Thursday, July 9, 2020. Indonesia’s resort island of Bali reopened after a three-month virus lockdown Thursday, allowing local people and stranded foreign tourists to resume public activities before foreign arrivals resume in September. ( AP )

The local government began lifting the limits Thursday, but tourists will face stringent rules in hotels, restaurants and on beaches, Bali Gov. I Wayan Koster said.

Koster told a news conference ahead of the reopening the island will gradually reopen shuttered places to locals and the foreigners stranded there during the outbreak. The island will open to Indonesians from other parts of the country on July 31 and new foreign arrivals on September 11.

The government established guidelines for reopening tourist spots and may close certain areas again if infections spike, he said.

“The pandemic has hit tourism sector so badly while there is no certainty when it will end,” Koster said.Balinese men pray during a ritual at Kuta beach, Bali, Indonesia on Thursday, July 9, 2020. Indonesia's resort island of Bali reopened after a three-month virus lockdown Thursday, allowing local people and stranded foreign tourists to resume public activities before foreign arrivals resume in September.

Balinese men pray during a ritual at Kuta beach, Bali, Indonesia on Thursday, July 9, 2020. Indonesia’s resort island of Bali reopened after a three-month virus lockdown Thursday, allowing local people and stranded foreign tourists to resume public activities before foreign arrivals resume in September. ( AP )

“We have to revive economic activity to prevent Bali from new social problems due to increasing economic pressures.” Tourism is the main source of income for the island that is mainly Hindu in the mostly Muslim archipelago nation.

The famed white-sand beaches and popular shopping areas on the “island of the gods” were deserted almost two decades ago when visitors were scared off by terrorism. The dark cloud of the suicide bombings that killed 202 mostly foreign tourists in 2002 lingered for years, but the island has worked to overcome that image.