Harsh fines for travelers who break rules

Passengers flying into Samoa on upcoming flights this month who fail to comply with state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders can face fines up to T$2,000.

The Government recently amended S.O.E. orders within the country and lifted prohibitions on international travel. 

The new restrictions on incoming passengers have been increased to include a fine, which was inserted in the amended S.O.E. orders released on Wednesday.

As announced by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa'ilele Malielegaoi last week, any passengers intending to travel to Samoa should have a COVID-19 test done within three days before departure for Samoa.

The passengers should also have confirmation of the completion of a 14-day quarantine period before departure for Samoa and will be quarantined on arrival in Samoa for another 14 days.

Failure to adhere to these new restrictions could attract a fine of T$2,000.

"A person commits an offence where the person does not comply with [...the testing order…] attracting a penalty of $2,000.00," the amended orders read.

"The payment of a fine under this Order, shall avoid any further prosecution for the offence stipulated in the Notice issued under Order 13.

"Where a person is convicted of an offence under these Orders, he or she shall be liable to a fine not exceeding $10,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months, or both."

In March, a young man who flew into Samoa from New Zealand was able to avoid getting quarantined with the rest of the passengers, who spent 14 days in isolation at the St. Therese Resort. 

In response, the Prime Minister said the young man, Zachary Schuster, should never have been allowed to leave the airport and called it a "lapse" in monitoring incoming passengers.

The Prime Minister, however, assured at that time that the passenger self-isolated at home.

He emphasised that such a lapse should not be an excuse to breach any restrictions and the bans imposed by the Government.   

Other cases of non-compliance with orders include being fined T$200 for a first offence and T$500 for a continuous offence as an individual.

For an organization or corporation or similar such legal entity, a fine of T$5,000 for a first offence and T$7,000 for a continuous offence.

Imprisonment not exceeding three months is also outlined in the order.

Other new orders also include the permitting of all sports except rugby, soccer, boxing, wrestling, judo, taekwondo.

The selling of alcohol has also been restricted to Monday to Saturdays only with sales stopping at 10pm. And strictly no alcohol shall be sold on Sundays.

And contrary to previous orders, which allowed hotel bars to open operate on normal hours again, new amended orders state they may open from Mondays to Saturdays only and close 10.00pm.

Street vendors have also been reminded not to sell goods on any roads or footpaths or on-road islands of Apia, beginning from Mulinuu to EFKS Church Apia, Taufusi including Ah Liki Market to Fugalei.

"Children selling goods in public is strictly prohibited," the order reads.

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