Indonesia malls reopen exclusively for vaccinated shoppers

Indonesia’s capital reopened its retail malls this week to an exclusive crowd – shoppers vaccinated against coronavirus.

With restrictions still in place in much of Indonesia, Jakarta’s malls are allowed to operate at 25% capacity to try to keep the economy moving, but customers must prove via a smartphone application that they’ve received at least one vaccination.

That puts them in a select group, with just one in five Indonesians given a shot so far under a mass-immunisation programme that started in January.

“This is a positive measure for the shopping mall. So that visitors can be assured that everyone who enters the mall has been scanned and considered safe and healthy,” said Eka Dewanto, the general manager of Pondok Indah Mall in north Jakarta.

Indonesia is fighting to contain a long-running outbreak fuelled by the Delta variant, with more than 3.8 million cases and 115,000 deaths recorded overall, one of Asia’s worst epidemics.

Like many countries in Asia, Indonesia has struggled to secure vaccines fast enough amid fierce global competition, heightened by the rapid spread of the Delta variant.