FAST party moves to ease Samoa's State of Emergency restrictions
Apia, SAMOA — The new FAST Cabinet have moved to ease State of Emergency restrictions including the call to begin negotiations with the New Zealand government for the possibility of a travel bubble with Samoa.
“Feutagai ma le Malo o Niu Sila mo le faamautuina o aiaiga talafeagai uma e ao ona malilie iai atunuu e lua mo le toe tatalaina o faigamalaga (travel bubble)..”
Effective Monday 2nd August 2021, changes will include the opening up of trading hours for local business activities. Sunday morning trading of the once popular fish market opens up again from 4am to 9am, including the market at Vaitele, Fugalei, Savalalo and Salelologa in Savaii.
Also on Sunday, restaurants, petrol stations and pharmacies are still restricted to a 12pm opening, but shops and supermarkets can now also open from 12pm instead of 3pm. Swimming at the beach and rivers opens up on Sundays, but not before 12pm.
Travel to Savaii opens up completely on Sunday as well as buses to coordinate with ferry times.
The non-formal sector can return to selling their home-made and home-grown goods on the side of the road and around the town area, however, there is a very specific restriction on the age of sellers. Children under 16 are prohibited to sell goods in the town area – an SOE order that may well finally break the norm and ongoing problem of child vendors in Apia.
In relation to overseas travel restrictions, there is specific mention of negotiations or efforts to set weekly travel between Samoa and American Samoa on Samoa Airways and Talofa Airways; while ensuring full existing border controls and requirements are applied.
The 11pm closing time for night clubs remains, however, fundraising (sailigatupe) opens up as long as they adhere to the 11pm closing time.
Samoa has been in State of Emergency since March 2020 due to COVID-19 and was the first country in the world to impose pre-departure travel restrictions, which are now imposed by all.
Samoa remains COVID-19 free since the global pandemic broke out in late 2019, with the frontliners coordinated under NEOC National Emergency Operations Centre and the Ministry of Health taking the lead in maintaining strict border restrictions, whilst still allowing regular repatriation flights into Samoa.