Follow revised S.O.E. orders: Tourism body

The Samoa Tourism Authority has urged members of the tourism sector to adhere to the amended state of emergency (S.O.E.) orders or face the prospect of losing their licenses.

S.T.A. Chief Executive Officer, Faamatuainu Lenata’i Suifua, said he acknowledges the closure of all international travel with borders remaining shut and local authorities promoting in-country tourism.

But he said any breaches of the amended S.O.E. orders by any of their members could result in the penalising of businesses, which could mean the loss of liquor or their business license. 

“However, businesses that breach the orders will have their business licenses or liquor licenses or both revoked for the duration of the proclamation of emergency,” he said. “In addition to penalties already provided under the relevant legislation regarding business licenses and liquor licenses.”

Emphasising that Samoa currently remains one of a few countries globally free of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Faamatuainu acknowledged the contribution of the tourism sector towards achieving that goal.

“And we acknowledge the Tourism Industry in observing the restrictions during the lockdown, as we work together to keep our shores COVID-19 free from the global pandemic,” he reiterated. “As the Government eases most of the restrictions, we sincerely advise all to continue working together to avoid any fines as we work to promote businesses domestically.

Faamatuainu said the economic downturn brought on by COVID-19 is tough and he urged tourism industry members to be patient as they sought the assistance of the Government. 

“I commend the current efforts of the tourism industry particularly during these tough times, and urge everyone to bear with us as we expedite assistance from the Government,” he added.

On June 3 the Cabinet relaxed some of the provisions of the S.O.E. orders, opening the door for members of the tourism and hospitality sector to resume operations, but operating within restricted hours for the next four weeks before another review is done.

Under the amended S.O.E. orders, businesses will operate from Monday to Saturday, with all businesses closed on Sunday except for supermarkets which open from 3-7pm.

Hotels are now also permitted to host floor shows which include Samoan entertainment or faafiafiaga, but with strict social distancing enforced. 

Weddings are also permitted, though hotels have to restrict guests to 50 couples attending with the closing set for 10pm. Nightlife is almost back to normal, as night clubs and bars open from 2pm to 10pm except for Sunday.

Tourism operators were also reminded to not allow any person under the age of 21 to enter their premises and they should not be served alcohol.

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