Social distancing rules ignored

People continue to disregard social distancing rules despite increasing calls by the authorities, including the Police, for the public to voluntarily follow state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders.

A large crowd of people was spotted at the Samoa National Provident Fund (S.N.P.F.) on Wednesday for example.

The Samoa Observer counted over 50 people sitting in close proximity to each other next to the office counter.

Authorities have urged the public to ensure each person maintains a distance of between 1.5 to 2 metres, but the S.N.P.F. members appeared to be totally oblivious to the coronavirus (COVID-19) recommendation.

A mother and her baby were amongst those outside the S.N.P.F., who were hoping to collect their one-month refund on member loan repayments.

A member of the public, 23-year-old Michael Motuga of Lalovaea, told Samoa Observer that he and everyone else are aware of the social distancing rules, but they are desperate and need the money.

"Yes I am aware of the restrictions and so does everyone sitting in line. But as much as we want to comply with the social distancing rules, we desperately need the money and we need to wait for someone to assist us and pushing the line might help the staff know that we need help."

Arriving at the S.N.P.F. office around 8am on Wednesday morning, Mr. Motuga said there was already a queue of people and security guards did not give instructions on how they should sit or how far from each other.

“I expected the securities to inform us or remind us about the restrictions and health measures such as wearing a face mask or sitting at a certain distance from each person. But he didn't and the more reason for people to sit closer to each other," he added.

It was not possible to get a comment from the S.N.P.F. at press time.

But in a video fronted by the Chief Executive Officer, Pauli Prince Suhren, last week, he urged contributors to observe S.O.E. orders.

He also asked that members utilise online technology to submit forms required if they want to take advantage of measures offered as part of the Government's stimulus package.

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