S.O.E. hit profits for food stall owners

The 14-day Government-declared state of emergency (S.O.E.) will result in losses for food stall owners at the Savalalo market and most places in Samoa.

A seller at the market, Tagialao Reupena, told Samoa Observer that they had recently invested in acquiring health cards in order to run their stalls on the eve of the emergency declaration and they are now making losses. 

"This is a huge loss for us food stall owners, we just got back into business with the health cards and now this issue," he said.

Acknowledging the risks associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19), Mr Reupena said he understands the need for the SOE to be declared in order to address the risks.

However, as a businessman, something needs to be done by the authorities to address their plight now that there are less customers.

"I sell pieces of cakes and also water for consumption and the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) came today for their weekly inspection and told us that we are not allowed to use the water from pipes outside the market because it's not safe. However, we were told to buy water from a water company to use," he said.

"It got me thinking that if this is the case with the water outside, then why don't they advise the people of Samoa who is using the water from the pipe to make food for their families, I mean this is too much of our loss.”

Mr Reupena also expressed concern about the M.O.H. and its alleged inconsistency in enforcing the health cards policy, saying vendors at the food court and other food handlers don’t face similar requirements.

According to the Savalalo market team manager, members of the public who buy cooked food there are not allowed to sit and eat and are directed to take their food as a takeaway. 

He said the M.O.H. will continue to monitor and inspect the market on a weekly basis.

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