Vendors at Vaitele finding it tough

Samoa might not have a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) case yet but the response, including the state of emergency (S.O.E.) lockdown, has already had a negative effect on some of the most vulnerable members of the community.

Vendors at the Vaitele market say life has been tough with business becoming extremely slow.

Fono Ielua, of Vaitele-Fou, sells fresh produce and crops at the market everyday.

"There has been a huge difference from before and during the lockdown. Less customers have been coming to our stalls for the past week," Ms. Ielua said in an interview with Samoa Observer.

Before the lockdown, she would serve more than 20 customers each day.

She would be lucky to get five nowadays. That has translated to a drop of earnings from $100 tala to less than $30 a day.

"On the weekend, I would get nearly $200. Not any more.

"Business has been slow now and less customers come here."

Since the lockdown started two weeks ago, the busiest days are Saturday and Sunday.

"The lockdown has had a huge impact on us vendors here at the Vaitele Market."

Another vendor at the Vaitele Market, Ma Fatu'u, of Tuana'i, echoed similar sentiments.

"Business has been slow for us selling produce at the Vaitele market but we still receive customers once in awhile," she said.

Despite the negative impact, she supports the S.O.E.

"Even though small businesses have been affected due to the lockdown but it is all for our protection against the Coronavirus."

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