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Vendors' mixed views on Sunday closures

The tradition of Samoans shopping at supermarkets and fish markets early Sunday mornings could be stopped for good if the Government persists with the change it has introduced under the state of emergency orders.

The fish market at Savalalo has been closed for Sunday, just like all roadside markets everywhere else. Supermarket are only allowed to open between 3pm and 7pm. 

But there are different views on the matter. There are people who support it and people who do not.

Suliveta Tuasivi, of Moata'a, who sells fish at the Savalalo fish market says the decision doesn't make sense. 

She is calling on the Government to reconsider its decision.

"There is a big difference between Saturday and Sunday in terms of money that is earned," Mrs. Tuasivi said.

She expressed that for the past Saturdays, they have had a lot of left over fish and that the income on Saturday does not match up to Sunday.

"We should still be given the opportunity for us to sell our fish for our family, village, church, and also for our children," she said.

Mrs. Tuasivi explained that Samoa is one of the few countries left that has not been affected by COVID-19, and she thinks that there is no reason to stop them from operating on Sundays because she believes that they need the opportunity to earn an income to prepare for whatever will happen if COVID-19 gets to Samoa so that they will be able to take care of her children.

She further explained that Sunday is a day for church but due to the fact that prior to the lockdown, the fish market would open from 4am to 8am on Sunday which would give plenty of time for people to get to church.

Mrs. Tuasivi sells lobsters and fish at the Savalalo fish market and shared that on Sunday they would usually get $500.

Jenevieve Fala and Faasoa Tanielu of Vaitele who sell produce such as taro, cabbage, and coconuts at the Vaitele Market shared different views from Mrs. Tuasivi stating that they support having Sunday restrictions permanent.

"I think it is great. It's true that most of the money we earn is on Sunday but this would be great so that everyone could go to church. So I support this," Ms. Fala said.

She shared that on weekdays she would only get around $100 but Sundays would reach $200 however she does not mind this proposed change.

Ms. Tanielu shared similar sentiments to Ms. Fala stating that it would be great for businesses such as the markets to remain closed on Sundays once the lockdown is lifted.

"Saturdays and Sundays are the best days here at the market but this ban is useful so that everyone can go to church because Sunday is a day where you have to go to church," Ms. Tanielu said.

She would usually earn an average of $100 on weekends but earn as low as $20 on weekdays but says there won't be that much impact on her small business if the restrictions become permanent. She believes it is best to earn money on Saturday and use Sunday as a day to go to church.

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