Government imposes ban on mudik

Those looking forward to spending Idulfitri (Eid-al-Fitr) in their hometowns or their parents’ hometowns this year will be in for a disappointment as the government has announced a ban on mudik, or the tradition of visiting one’s hometown for Lebaran, to curb the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season.

The ban means that once again, this year’s Ramadan, or the Islamic holy month of fasting prior to Idulfitri, will be observed differently as it was last year during the pandemic with people having to stay at home and avoid the usual family gatherings.

As part of the mudik ban, the Ministry of Transportation has announced that flights and other modes of public transportation such as buses and trains will also be severely restricted during the holiday season in order to prevent people from going on intercity or interprovincial trips.

Flights and other modes of public transport will be restricted

indonesian ministry of transportation
The Ministry of Transportation has issued a regulation that will restrict domestic travels during Lebaran
Image credit: Ministry of Transportation

On Thursday, 8th April 2021 the Ministry of Transportation announced that passenger travels on planes, trains, buses, sea vessels and private vehicles will be severely restricted between 6th and 17th May to prevent the movement of people leading up to and after Idulfitri, which is expected to fall on 13th and 14th May this year.

According to the ministry’s spokesperson Adita Irawati, the transport of goods and logistics will be allowed to operate as normal, and exemptions will be made for certain conditions such as official or business trips and travels for compassionate reasons.

The police will stand guard to enforce the restrictions with assistance from the military, the Ministry of Transportation, Regional Transportation Offices and the COVID-19 Task Force, said Director-General of Sea Transportation Agus H. Purnomo.

Nevertheless, a survey conducted by the ministry’s Research and Development Agency shows that 11% of the respondents, or around 27.6 million people, still intend to go on mudik this year despite the ban and restrictions.

This is the second year that such a ban will be in place

people in jakarta during the covid-19 pandemic
Image credit: Ministry of Finance

A ban on mudik for Ramadan and Idulfitri was also enforced at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, with the Jakarta Transportation Agency suspending Jakarta-based intercity and interprovincial buses to restrict mobility and encourage people to stay home.

As a result, Jakartans were forced to spend the holiday in the city, with many people resorting to online platforms such as Zoom to catch up with their loved ones in other parts of the country during what is usually a time for family reunions, and it looks like not much will change during the holiday this year.

Government imposes ban on mudik

As disappointing as the news is, such restrictions are unfortunately necessary as the pandemic is still far from over – at the time of writing Indonesia has recorded 1,552,880 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Keep in mind that although it will still be a while until we can gather with our loved ones to celebrate holidays, technology has allowed us to keep in touch with them through platforms such as Zoom, WhatsApp, and social media. It may not be ideal, but it’s currently the safest option.

In the meantime, we must keep doing our part to fight the pandemic – including by wearing masks, washing our hands, avoiding crowded places, and adhere to restrictions enforced to curb the spread of the virus.

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Cover image adapted from the Ministry of Transportation and Mentari Sandiastri

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