In case you missed it, Indonesia on Friday all but lifted requirements to wear masks in public, marking an official end to a mandate that had been in place since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

(Fewer people have been wearing masks in the past several months in Jakarta anyway, and even fewer beyond the capital, but that’s a topic for another discussion.)

The government’s COVID-19 Task Force released its first circular of 2023 on June 9, stating that the country is transitioning into the endemic phase of COVID-19, practically declaring the health emergency to be over.

The circular most notably states that the wearing of masks in public spaces is no longer compulsory provided that the individual is in good health. Unhealthy people are merely encouraged to be considerate and mask up to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or whatever ails them.

In addition, the government is recommending that people, especially those who are at higher risk from contracting COVID-19, be fully vaccinated against the disease and receive up to two booster shots. Hand washing and sanitizing in public are also recommended.

Public transportation

Public transportation facilities in Indonesia recently had some of the most stringent of remaining health protocols, which is quite understandable given that there are few better places to spread a disease than in a confined space filled with people.

MRT Jakarta, for example, not only enforced a strict mask mandate, but it also prohibited people from talking inside the train as recently as this year.

That all changed after the government released the circular. Yesterday, MRT Jakarta announced that it has lifted onboard mask requirements, under the same conditions as those laid out in the government’s circular. There’s no word yet on whether or not we can talk inside the train, though.

Other public transport operators in the capital, like TransJakarta and KRL Commuterline, have also followed suit as Jakarta’s Transportation Agency also released a circular about health protocols on public transportation, which contains the same points as the COVID-19 Task Force’s circular.

We don’t know about you, but we’d be more at ease if we continued wearing masks in especially crowded mass transportation vehicles given the close proximity to other passengers.

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