Cabinet urged to extend S.O.E., relax rules

The Disaster Advisory Committee (D.A.C.) has tabled a combined submission to extend the state of emergency by another month but encouraging a relaxation of its rules. 

Should its submission be approved, church services could commence as early as this coming Sunday. 

But they will be limited to morning services only.

The proposals are contained in an email circulated by the Samoa Chamber of Commerce to its members. Key submissions include the slow opening of schools with restrictions.

Despite the submission recommending relaxing the rules, it also recommends restricting international travel only to New Zealand and American Samoa.

Under the proposal, travelling from New Zealand will only be for Samoan citizens who have been stranded in N.Z. with tickets already confirmed and paid for before the lockdown.

Travel between Samoa and American Samoa will be permitted for repatriation flights only, once a week. Special cases may be considered, according to the email summary. 

The submission also aims to quash an order prohibiting a public gathering of more than five persons.

The limitation on numbers of bus passengers would also be relaxed while bus owners would still be advised to encourage social distancing.

Ferry services between Upolu and Savaii are also expected to resume as normal, except for on Sundays, on which ferry travel would also be prohibited. 

All non-contact, sports such as golf and tennis, would be allowed to resume. Beaches would also be open but remain closed on Sundays.

The Samoa Chamber says it recognises the difficulty has been borne by its members due to the imprecision of the state of emergency orders and encourages continuing members to submit issues for the Samoa Chamber of Commerce’s Secretariat to address with Government officials.

According to the Secretariat, a favourable decision is expected from Cabinet as the submission is a consolidated view with support from all Government departments.

The official announcement on the state of emergency matter will be made before Sunday, May 2, 2020.

This is the sixth week Samoa has been in lockdown in efforts to keep the coronavirus at bay. 

Samoa remains free of coronavirus, says Ministry of Health, Director General Leausa Take Naseri.



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