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Village councils permitted, barred from Sundays

Village Council meetings have been officially exempted from state of emergency orders and must not be conducted on a Sunday.

Despite getting the green light from the Ministry of Women Community and Social Development (M.W.C.S.D.) to host the meetings again some weeks ago, some villages have been holding off due to fear of repercussions and not understanding the details of the new restrictions. 

Amended orders include the exemption of village meetings released on Thursday 14 May but they carried strict conditions. 

These include keeping to the two-metre social distancing rule between each person attending the meeting and that no village meeting shall be conducted on a Sunday.

Last week, Vaiusu village High Chief Ulugia Aukuso told this newspaper that their Village Council meetings have been put off and could not convene due to a state of emergency prohibition. 

Meanwhile, other villages have been hosting council meetings in the past few weeks despite the orders. 

But efforts to observe the social distancing regulations were a failure as matai crammed into the meeting places.

Moananu Amosa Mauili, the Village Mayor of Vaoala says this is great news saying ever since the lockdown, he has had to go from one family to another to personally deliver important notices as they were unable to meet.

Meanwhile, the rest of the state of emergency orders remain in effect, including the restricted number of no more than five people to funerals, traditional title bestowals, birthdays, weddings; reunions; and opening ceremonies for buildings (umusaga).

Failure to comply with the Orders may attract a fine of $200 for a first offence, and a fine of $500 for a continuous offence as an individual.

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