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Paychecks and benefits flow as American Samoans celebrate the season

A family who enjoyed the CCCAS Petesa Uta annual concert

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With the territory on the verge of the Christmas-New Year’s holiday, Monday was government payday, but those who have direct deposit received their money over the past weekend.

ASG retirees, who usually receive their benefit checks at the end of the month, received their checks last Friday, according to a public announcement from the Retirement Board, which approved the early release of benefit checks for Christmas time.

This time of the year, many will spend Christmas with families and friends, following church services. A tradition for the Methodist church is the “manuao”, which is carried out after Christmas Eve service, during which church members visit homes and sing until around 3a.m or 4a.m. Families usually provide gifts in return.

There are also those who will be out partying but please be forewarned: police are out in full force to ensure a peaceful Christmas 2019. The DPS holiday enforcement program began last Friday with roadblocks, including one in front of CBT in Nu’uuli.

Traffic is expected to be very busy today, especially in the Laufou area and in front of Neil’s ACE Home Center. Some stores opened this past Sunday and others opened late yesterday to accommodate last minute shoppers. Grocery stores and retailers say they are prepared for the Christmas rush — and they are banking on holiday shopping to increase revenues.

Lolo has already declared tomorrow Dec. 25th a government holiday. All government offices will be closed. The majority of the territory’s businesses — including the two banks and all federal offices locally and in the US — will be closed tomorrow.

At StarKist Samoa, production shutdown was Friday, for the usual two-week end-of-the-year down time, and work resumes Jan. 6, 2020.

With the holiday season in full swing, the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Board reminds vendors, bars, and restaurants to abide by the set rules and regulations. Local law states that beer taverns and alcoholic beverage licensees may sell or serve beer or alcoholic beverages from 8a.m. to 2:00 a.m. the following morning. Stores can sell alcohol and beer up to 10p.m. everyday except Sundays.

From all of us at Samoa News: “Merry Christmas American Samoa, especially our Toa o Samoa."