Restaurants, buses resume as state of emergency relaxes
Restaurants and buses will resume operating at half capacity, limited travel to Savai'i will begin again and supermarket trading will be lengthened under relaxations to state of emergency measures announced on Tuesday night.
The changes, which take effect from Wednesday, were announced by the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, after a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
“We can barely sleep at night trying to find ways to balance the governance of this country; in [one] case we get the virus at the same time [there is] the impact on the economy," the Prime Minister said.
“We are not yet in the safe zone and we still have to be vigilant.
"Be mindful, if we do get one case, the Government will shut down everything immediately."
Supermarkets which currently close at 4pm will trade until 6pm under the amendments. They will also be open from 3pm until close on Sundays.
Buses will resume their role as public transport but only 20 passengers are allowed on-board and not past 5.30pm or on Sundays.
“The bus operators should enforce social distancing on the buses,” Tuilaepa said.
Restaurants will be open for dining from 6am to 9:30pm and the same rules apply to cafes, said the Prime Minister.
Inter-island travel will run only four days from Wednesday to Saturday. Passengers 60 years and older are prohibited from taking ferries unless they are seeking medical attention.
"For the Lady Samoa only 100 passengers can travel; Lady Naomi can only take 60 passengers while Samoa Express and Fotu o Samoa can only take 20 passengers," the Prime Minister said.
“One must travel when necessary but don’t travel for leisure; also be mindful the Cabinet can shut down transportation anytime, and if you are stuck in Savaii that is your fault.
“While we will loosen up restrictions but those that are travelling between Savaii and Upolu must be extra cautious.”
The Government will be enforcing mandatory social distancing between people of two metres.
“Social distancing is two meters and this policy is applied globally," he said.
The Prime Minister cautioned those who are 60 years and older must remain indoors.
He said there will be no ferries on Sundays.
Markets will be closed on Sundays while the supermarkets will only be allowed to open from 3pm to 6pm on Sundays.
“Supermarkets are self-serving stores, that's the definition, as many people are asking as to what this is. However, the stores that you stand at the counter are not supermarkets.
Tuilaepa reminded the public not to use Ministers and the Prime Minister’s name to bypass policies.
“The policies are applicable to everyone, it does not matter who you are," he said.
Last week the Prime Minister confirmed the last 12 outstanding suspected samples of coronavirus patients in Samoa tested negative.
Tuilaepa said the test results for the swabs that were taken from the quarantined patients before an emergency medical flight to New Zealand on Tuesday last week were received late on Thursday evening.
The remaining state of emergency restrictions still apply.