Samoa ended six days of an Alert Level 3 nation-wide lockdown at 6pm on Friday night with the announcement the nation would shift to a less stringent Level 2 status on the basis that there remains no evidence of community transmission and all 27 positive covid-19 cases are in managed isolation.
The initial announcement stated several revisions to State of Emergency Orders, whilst all other conditions under SOE Order 63 remains.
However, new State of Emergency Orders #64 and #65 signed into law by the Head of State Friday evening, “comes with law binding mandatory strings attached,” reads the announcement by Government’s Press Secretariat.
Other than the mandatory public health conditions, flight restrictions and announcements such as maximum crowds of 30 and closure of schools all previously reported, businesses need to know and heed to additional amendments to SOE orders, to be observed over the next two weeks.
The most notable is a curfew of 8pm on all business operations including restaurants.
Bars, nightclubs and gyms are not to open, and there is also a ban on all gaming.
Published in verbatim so as to not be misinterpreted:
• For markets including flea markets and fish market or any market which the public have access to permitted to open from Monday to Saturday, from 6.00am to 6.00pm and no person is to sleep overnight at any market place.
• The supermarkets and small shops are permitted to open from Monday to Saturday from 6.00am to 8.00pm.
• All gaming is prohibited (including Bingos, Casinos, bonuses and lotto)
• Hotels are permitted for in-house guests for room service and takeaway only from Monday to Sunday and hotel-restaurants may open from Monday to Saturday for non-guests from 6.00am to 8.00pm for takeaway only.
• Restaurants are opened for take away from 6.00am to 8.00pm from Monday to Saturday, and are to close on Sundays.
• All other business are permitted to operate from 6.00am to 8.00pm from Monday to Saturday except for the following businesses which are to close until further notice.
a) Nightclubs and Bars
b) Fitness centres and Gyms
c) Gaming Facilities
• All business must close on Sunday except:
a) Fish Markets from 4.00am to 9.00am
b) Fugalei Market from 4.00am to 9.00am
c) Supermarkets and small shops from 12noon to 8.00pm
d) Petroleum Products Supply Limited for the purpose of refueling
e) Petrol stations which may open from 12 noon to 8.00pm
• Domestic flights services between Upolu and Savaii may operate according to the normal schedule including Sundays and must observe social distancing and must comply with the measures for the preventions of the spread of COVID-19 as advised by the Ministry of Health and National Emergency Operation Centre from time to time.
Level 2 Restrictions Previously Announced
• Permit only cargo flights into and out of Samoa until further notice;
• Suspend inbound repatriation flights, seasonal workers flights and outbound passenger service flights until further notice;
• Continue regular inter-island ferry services between Upolu and Savaii but maintain social distancing;
• Container ships and oil tankers allowed to berth at Matautu wharf to ensure adequate food and fuel supply chains for Samoa;
• Public transportation is restricted to taxis (4 passengers); buses to keep passenger numbers to 20
• School openings to be suspended but encourage the use of virtual, audio-visual and other e-learning platforms;
• 12 years and under age groups are prohibited from public places.
Businesses and the public are assured that Cabinet will be reviewing the developments before the end of the two weeks.
“Any further developments during the two week Alert Level 2 period will be distributed for the publics’ information when they are available”.
On Friday at 6pm, business entrepreneurs had already announced their Friday night opening hours on social media, and some even opened right on 6pm, unaware of the revised SOE orders.
After the announcement however, many businesses were seen immediately adapting, advertising pick-up options from restaurants and encouraging clients to download the Samoa Travel Tracer App.