Police in Bali have found a unique way of dealing with people refusing to comply with COVID-19 regulations.
Anyone caught not wearing a mask in public, who cannot pay the fine, are being made to do 50 push-ups. For those found to be wearing a mask improperly, such as not covering the nose fully, the punishment is 15 push-ups.
In videos shared on social media this week, tourists can be seen doing push-ups in the street.
It has been mandatory to wear masks in public on the Indonesian island since the pandemic began, but police have found tourists are still not following the law.
"Respect for the wearing of a mask by foreign tourists is very low," says law enforcement officer, Gusti Agung Ketut Suryanegara.
"First they say they are not aware of this regulation," he adds. "Then they say they forgot it, their mask was wet or damaged."
The fine for not wearing a mask is 100,000 Indonesian rupees (€6).
Police officers watching over the offenders say they’re growing tired of the excuses given for not wearing a mask.
Since the start of the year, dozens of visitors to the island are reported to have been arrested for not wearing a face mask. “90 per cent of offenders are foreign tourists," says Suryanegara.
COVID-19 cases in Indonesia
Indonesia has been hit hard by the virus. It has had more than 917,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 26,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Cases have continued to rise rapidly since the start of the year.
Despite the tourism sector struggling, authorities in Bali are considering deporting foreign visitors who don't wear masks or comply with the COVID-19 regulations.
"I try to follow health protocols. If I go to a store, of course I wear a mask," says Russian tourist, Margarita Chlapak, in the resort town of Canggu. Chlapak wasn’t wearing one out in the street at the time of being interviewed by AFP, and Balinese authorities are clamping down on it.
Tourists officially banned in 2020
Tourists have been banned since April last year, except those who have residence in Bali or are visiting from other parts of Indonesia are allowed to enter.
The end is in sight though, after 1.2 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine arrived in Indonesia in early December. The government has made it free to all citizens.
Given the island’s reliance on foreign visitors, the vaccine will be vital in supporting Bali’s economy.