Supermarkets get extra trading hours

Supermarkets around Samoa may open for an hour longer during the week and Sundays starting from this week, according to amended state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders released on Wednesday evening. 

According to May 20 S.O.E. orders, which have taken effect from Thursday, supermarkets are now permitted to open from 6am to 7pm from Monday to Saturdays while Sunday opening hours will extend from 3pm to 7pm.

Meanwhile, small shops, specifically those with counters, can continue to operate normal hours.

The changes allow for an extra hour of trading past the previously enforced closing time of 6pm. 

The new trading hours have been well received by retailers, especially smaller stores that do not consider themselves supermarkets, but had been subject to operating restrictions nonetheless.

Some are continuing to hope for greater extensions of opening hours as the country eases back to normalcy after weeks of strict lockdown measures.

A 71-year-old store owner, Loreta Tuala Tamalelagi, at Alamagoto said the busiest time of the evening is after work hours.

Closing at 6pm has been hard on her business, Mrs Tamalelagi added.

The shop's sales have been impacted greatly by the the restrictions and she hopes that the one-hour extension may improve that.

A mother-of-two, Tina Kerisiano, told the Samoa Observer outside Frankie's Hypermarket that the one-hour extension is small but it is a start at least.

"Now we don't have to feel so pressured at 5pm to get shopping done before its 6pm, there is an extra hour window and it will make a difference for us shoppers for sure," she said.

"At least they are leaving the small stores open normally but supermarkets are what people mostly go to as the prices at the little stores can get quite ridiculous."

While every other business, including gas stations close on Sundays, small stores are permitted to operate normal hours.

For the purposes of the amended orders, “supermarket” is a shop where a person walks in through doors to purchase any groceries, and any other item.

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