TikTokers caught breaching COVID-19 restrictions in East Java

Indonesia has implemented restrictions on the movement of people, or pemberlakuan pembatasan kegiatan masyarakat (PPKM) since 22nd January 2021 to curb the spread of COVID-19 – and for a good reason. The number of confirmed cases in the country continues to rise, and as of the time of writing, the figure has just crossed a million and stands at 1,012,350.

Understandably enough, outrage was everywhere when footage of a gathering hosted by a group of TikTokers in Madiun, East Java went viral on social media.

It’s never a good idea to host a gathering during a global pandemic

Twitter screenshot about TikTokers' fan gathering 1
Image credit: @NAffogato23

The TikToker gathering took place on Sunday, 24th January 2021 and was first brought to attention by Twitter user @NAffogato23. They tweeted a video from the gathering, clearly showing a crowded restaurant with dozens of people in close proximity to each other.

GIF image of TikTokers' fan gathering
Video credit: @magetanbanget

On that day, TikToker group ViensBoys, originally from Solo in Central Java, visited iClub Restaurant in Madiun for what initially appeared to be a food review with only a handful of people involved.

However, it soon became apparent that they had a much larger event planned as an army of fans quickly stormed the restaurant, turning the visit into a full-scale meet-and-greet.

Twitter screenshot about TikTokers' fan gathering - 4
Image credit: @NAffogato23

The Twitter user pointed out that the restaurant was fully packed, and no social distancing was maintained during the TikToker gathering.

Elsewhere in the thread, they shared an infographic which showed that as of 22nd January, Madiun had 1,532 confirmed cases of COVID-19. They also urged authorities to act fast as the incident had caused great discomfort and disturbance to the city’s residents.

What netizens have to say about the TikToker gathering

Twitter screenshot about TikTokers' fan gathering - 2
Image credit: @dinindaaaaa

One responder to the thread, who is originally from Madiun but now lives elsewhere, called out the recklessness of the TikTokers, while adding that she has not visited her family in the city for a long time due to the severity of the pandemic.

Twitter screenshot about TikTokers' fan gathering - 3
Image credit: @txtdarimadiun

Another Twitter user pointed out that the restaurant where the TikToker gathering shenanigans occurred is located near a hospital where COVID-19 patients are referred to, with a full isolation ward.

The police have gotten involved

Police closes down restaurant after TikTokers' fan gathering
Image credit: Solopos.com/Madiun City Office of Communications and Informatics

In response to the backlash to the gathering, on Monday, 25th January 2021, the Madiun City Police announced that it had launched a formal investigation into the TikToker gathering incident. 

On Tuesday, 26th January 2021, it was announced that the police were interrogating Viens Boys and several other witnesses.

The police have also forcibly closed iClub Restaurant for breaching COVID-19 protocols.

This is how serious the COVID-19 situation in Indonesia is

Indonesia has one of the world’s highest COVID-19 tallies, with the number of confirmed cases having just surpassed the 1 million mark today.

Indonesia's COVID-19 Stats
Image credit: COVID-19 Task Force

In particular, East Java is one of the country’s so-called COVID-19 red zones, with a total of 107,050 confirmed cases as of Monday.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has announced that restrictions on the movement of people will be extended for another two weeks until 8th February 2021 in seven provinces, including Jakarta, East Java, and Bali.

Remember that we’re all in this together

It’s frustrating that there is no sign of the pandemic blowing over anytime soon, and even more so when it means that there will be a while until we can go out and gather freely again.

But we rely on each other to do the right thing and keep everyone safe during this pandemic, and only when we realize how important it is to adhere to health protocols will the situation finally improve.

In the meantime, staying home is the only option, but there’s always a bunch of things to do to keep ourselves entertained and occupied.

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Cover image adapted from: @magetanbanget and the Madiun City Office of Communications and Informatics

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