Pangkalpinang, Bangka Belitung (ANTARA) - A total of 65 hotels and restaurants in Bangka Belitung (Babel) Province are back in business following the government's plan to apply the new normal policy by following strict health protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We urge hoteliers and the industry, especially members of the PHRI (the Association of Indonesian Hotels and Restaurants) to better prepare themselves to face this new normal," Bambang Patidjaya, chairman of PHRI's Babel chapter, stated here on Wednesday.

Some 45 hotels and 20 restaurants shut down in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic owing to the absence of tourists in the province. Furthermore, 2,850 employees were laid off by their companies.

"In navigating this new normal, hotel and restaurant businesses must apply new operational standards that lay emphasis on the safety and health aspects of guests and hotel employees," he emphasized.

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Governor of Bangka Belitung Islands Erzaldi Rosman Djohan stated that Bangka Belitung was among the four provinces that the central government had permitted to receive tourists.

"We call on PHRI to implement strict health protocols at restaurants and hotels to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in this 'negeri laskar pelangi,'" he stated.

With Babel being marked as a green zone in the COVID-19 pandemic, the provincial government has permitted the stage-wise opening of restaurants and hotels by applying the standard operating procedures and health protocols set for tourism.

Business entities must follow the three principles of modifying the working mechanism, implementing a working system that reduces physical contact, and applying sanitation standards that align with the health protocols to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Tourism in Babel must be safe from COVID-19 since this will have an impact on the image of our tourism in the world," the governor added.

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Translator: Aprionis, Fardah
Editor: Sri Haryati
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