THE Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Mahfud MD explained the reason the government allowed malls and airports to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For example why the mosque was closed, the mall was opened. I think what was opened was not in violation of the law because there were 11 certain sectors that could be opened by the Law, by protocol,” Mahfud said in a virtual press conference in Jakarta.

He explained, malls were permitted to continue operating because they provided services that were included in 11 service sectors that were excluded from implementing large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) to control COVID-19 transmission.

According to the provisions regarding PSBB and health quarantine, restrictions on work activities during the PSBB are excluded among others for service providers meeting the needs of food and fuel oil, health, communication, and logistics distribution.

Business activities outside of the 11 sectors that are exempted from the regulation regarding large-scale social restrictions may temporarily not operate. He gave an example, IKEA furniture shopping center in South Tangerang was asked to temporarily close during PSBB.

Mahfud explained that the airport was also allowed to operate to serve groups of people who had to travel to carry out tasks in accordance with the provisions of the PSBB.

“The airport to transport people with certain duties and conditions is opened, (if any) violators are also dealt with. Although it can operate during a pandemic, Mahfud stressed, business activities in 11 excluded sectors must still be carried out by referring to health protocols to prevent transmission COVID-19,” he said.

He added, there is a health protocol that is guarded by security enforcement. So the strategy is the enforcement of security protocols.

Regarding the disappointment of members of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) about the ban on congregational prayers at the mosque while the shopping center was left crowded, Mahfud said, Maybe I did not see if any MUI were disappointed with what happened. First, it was a statement by MUI people, not MUI- it states. [antaranews/photo special]