Social distancing rules a challenge for security guards

The practicalities of enforcing coronavirus (COVID-19) social distancing has come under scrutiny with members of the public urging others to respect security guards and their attempts to police it.

Attempts last Saturday by a security guard, who worked for money transfer firm No.1 Currency opposite the SNPF Plaza in town, to enforce social distancing rules on queuing customers led to an angry exchange with a woman according to eyewitnesses.

Tulia Taofi from Vaitele Uta told Samoa Observer that she heard the security advising customers that they set a limit on the number of people they could accept.

His instructions led to an angry exchange with an unidentified woman, who did not like being given the instructions.

“I was so mad when I heard this woman speaking such harsh words to a security who was just doing his job. We don’t have to embarrass our people to get attention because for me that was exactly what this lady was trying to do,” she said.

“I don’t know about you but every time I drive around town I always see that people are gathering around each other without even a distance. On Saturday, banks were all packed, supermarkets full and people walking around right next to each other.

“Our people should try to obey these rules, they were made to protect us, not to harm us. Keeping our distance from one another isn’t that hard. We may be coronavirus free but we never know, anything can happen.”

An eye witness of the angry exchange, who did not want to be identified, said he felt sorry for the security guard as he appeared hurt by the woman’s comment but he stayed calm and apologised to customers queuing outside.

“The lady told him that he’s uneducated and that’s why he’s not doing his job really well, after the lady has said this, his only words to us was ‘I am sorry but I’m only following orders’,” the eyewitness said.

“To me we shouldn’t disrespect others like that. He’s got a job to secure and a family to feed so we can’t expect him to break the rules because he will lose his job.”

Mrs Taofi is of the view that people will only follow social distancing rules if and when a COVID-19 case is confirmed in Samoa.

“Samoa will never listen until we have a confirmed case of coronavirus, knowing this country they only listen when something is happening. A few will obey orders right away but majority it’s not going to happen,” she added.

She then urged the public to act like the coronavirus is already here and not be ignorant.

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