"We have issued a circular letter to all heads of district and mayors across Indonesia. To contain COVID-19 spread, we called on regional leaders to apply special treatment for distribution of food commodities, especially at traditional markets (with a strict health protocol in place)," the ministry's Director General of Domestic Trade, Suhanto, stated here on Friday.
Since the imposition of large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) in some regions, the ministry has received reports on the closure of some traditional markets.
Suhanto noted that an agreement was reached at the meeting with legislators and the COVID-19 handling task force to keep the traditional market open, albeit with the stringent application of a health protocol.
"Today, the circular letter from the Task Force was sent to regions, and we are optimistic of it being followed up," he remarked after handing over the social assistance from the ministry to Central Java Province.
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo was handed over the social assistance, comprising antiseptic chamber, washbasin, mask and other health care equipment, basic necessities, and cash.
Suhanto noted that 13 traditional markets in Central Java had imposed a strict health protocol by widening the space between traders.
"It is interesting that 13 markets were rearranged in line with the concept of physical distancing. We called on district heads and mayors in regions with crowded markets to innovate to adjust with the current situation. We can emulate the system followed in Central Java where traders build stalls on roads," he noted.
Suhanto remarked that the traditional market had played a crucial role for farmers, traders, and consumers.
"The economy will be affected by the closure of markets. Let us rearrange the traditional market based on the concept of physical distancing, so that traders can continue to operate, farmers can sell their products, and the economy will continue to expand," he elaborated.
Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo noted that a small move by the administration has grabbed the attention of the central government and the COVID-19 handling task force.
"Our friends at the Trade Ministry have monitored the situation in Central Java. Although our move is not perfect yet, but at least we have attempted to rearrange the market in line with the central government's policy," Pranowo explained. Related news: COVID-19: Trade Ministry works to make 157 public markets safe
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