Lockdown empties town plaza

By Maggie Kelekolio 25 March 2020, 8:00PM

Business hours at the Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.) Plaza in town has been reduced and the public discouraged from visiting following the release of amended state of emergency orders.

Tables, chairs and benches were turned over on the ground floor of the plaza to stop people from sitting and gathering, which would be in breach of the S.O.E. orders that bans the gathering of five or more people.

A security guard at the SNPF Plaza, Nifo Saemo, from Fasitoo Tai, told Samoa Observer that they have orders from the building management to prevent members of the public from entering the building.

“After the new orders were announced by the Government yesterday (Tuesday) we were informed of the new restrictions. This includes opening and closing times as well as preventative measures for all restaurants in the building, and they are very understanding and are supporting us and the Government orders,” he said.

“It is for everyone’s safety and we want to help them understand that our job is easier if they are willing to cooperate.”

Mr. Saemo said the tables, chairs and benches were deliberately turned over to indicate to the public that they are not expected to stop and gather in the area, and it is an attempt by the building management to ensure there is social distancing practiced by people.

“It's hard convincing people to leave early or sit at a distance from each other and doing this really made a difference because very few people are seen in here.”

Businesses that lease rooms in the building have also been alerted to the new restrictions imposed through the S.O.E. orders, which means the shortening of trading hours from 9am to 4pm. 

Describing the deserted S.N.P.F. Plaza as “unusual”, Mr. Saemo said: "Everything will be closed at 4pm and the restaurants here are only offering takeaway orders, it is unusual and new to see an empty plaza and I hope that this catastrophe will end soon, but it is everyone's responsibility if we work together we will overcome this and have our happy home back.”

Attempts by the Samoa Observer to speak to the S.N.P.F. Plaza building management was unsuccessful.

By Maggie Kelekolio 25 March 2020, 8:00PM

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