Coffee Roaster S.O.E. compliance questioned
The owner of a popular café at Togafu'afu'a, Coffee Roaster, has declined to respond to questions about why customers are congregating inside and outside of their premises contrary to orders of the coronavirus pandemic State of Emergency (S.O.E.).
The Samoa Observer had asked Phillip Moore for a comment on Wednesday when this reporter visited the café and saw customers sitting down inside and outside the café having drinks in takeaway cups.
Among the customers outside the café were two Cabinet Ministers, the Minister of Police and Prisons, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt and the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti. They were seen having a conversation with, Alaiasa Schwartz Hunt, Tuala Oli Ah Him and the Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Samoa, Satish Kumar Sharma, with their coffees in takeaway cups.
Questions about Coffee Roasters’ compliance with rules regarding restaurants during the six-week S.O.E. lockdown were raised by members of the public who had seen it and contacted the Samoa Observer.
They were concerned given the fact most of the cafes in town have been closed, with others having had to implement stringent measures to stay in business including a “takeaways only” rule.
At EnT’s Café for example, since the S.O.E., no one is allowed to enter the café.
“At the moment we've stopped all customers from coming inside the cafe to dine,” the Owner said. “It has definitely impacted our sales unlike the normal days, there's definitely been some hard times with the S.O.E. in place.
“We closed our gate and we have staff running out to the parking lot to give the menu and get orders, so they wait in the comfort of their cars while we serve.”
Another café owner next door to Coffee Roaster, Allie Moananu, of Connexions Café, said that while times are tough, she is grateful they are still able to open for takeaways.
“We still have a lot of orders; we still a lot of orders thanks to SSAB and being in the right location.”
Asked for a comment regarding other cafes that are not complying with the S.O.E., she said: “That’s their problem. I’m just following the rules, I’m grateful that I am able to pay my sweet staff, pay my rent and take what is left home.
“I am just trusting God for his provision on my restaurant, during these times.”
Other cafes contacted by the Samoa Observer for a comment, including Kofe Haus, Milani’s and All Things Sweet, were not available.
An attempt is being made to get comments from Minister Tialavea, Minister Sili and the Police Commissioner, Fuiavailiili Egon Keil.
According to amended S.O.E orders from 26 March 2020, all owners of restaurants are prohibited from opening to customers for dining in; and permitted to provide customers with food to take away, for consumption away from a public place (at home).
S.O.E. orders are in place to prevent the arrival of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Samoa's shores.
Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi announced the extension of the S.O.E. following an initial 14 days effective on 21 March 2020 and expired on Saturday, 4th April 2020.
Tuilaepa said only the extension of the state of emergency for another month will guarantee that the country will be free from COVID-19. The S.O.E. orders on public gatherings are as follows:
(1) There shall be no public gathering of more than 5 people at any public place.
(2) There shall be no public gatherings of any sort which include but are not limited to:
(a) Church gatherings;
(b) Sports events;
(c) Entertainment gatherings.
(3) All nightclubs, bars, theatres, bars attached to restaurants or hotels, or any other public place people accustom for social gatherings are to be closed.
(4) All people are prohibited from gathering at airports or wharves unless it is for permitted travel.
(5) All owners of restaurants are:
(a) prohibited from opening to customers for dining in; and
(b) permitted to provide customers with food to take away, for consumption away from a public place (at home).