State of emergency relaxations extended
Recent changes to the state of emergency orders are to be extended to Sunday 17 January, the Government announced on Monday.
In a press release, the Government said Cabinet recommended the state of emergency orders be extended for two more weeks.
It is the original date of the most recent extension of the now 10-month state of emergency, with slight changes to trading hours and permissions introduced late last month.
The changes were due for review by Monday 04 January, with some suspecting the changes –which included extra hours for restaurants and bars and permission for the ferry to sail on Sundays for cargo – might be revoked.
Instead, they appear to be in place until at least the next emergency extension.
COVID-19 continues to rage around the world, claiming 1.84 million lives to date. There have been 85.1 million cases globally, with the United States, India, and Brazil currently recording the most so far.
Samoa has banned travelers from a host of countries reported to have cases of the new COVID-19 variant which is now understood to be more contagious than the original.
There is a blanket ban until further notice on travelers arriving or transiting from the United Kingdom, South Africa, Spain, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, France, Singapore, Nigeria, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Jordan, and Lebanon.
The National Emergency Operations Centre is yet to confirmed whether New Zealand, which has recorded several variant cases in managed isolation and quarantine, will be added to this list.
Samoa’s first repatriation flight of the year is scheduled for Friday 22 January and is intended to bring home sailors from several countries. It is not known yet if this flight has been affected by the travel bans.
Further changes to travel into Samoa include restrictions on nyone who had COVID-19 in 2020.
They must now wait six months from their first positive test then pass three tests seven days apart before preparing to travel.
They are also required to take a blood test for COVID-19 five days before their departure, and if possible provide the genome sequencing of their infection to the Ministry of Health.
These rules are for both travellers to Samoa and flight and sea crew too.
For more travellers with no history of COVID-19, pre-departure testing has been ramped up to both a negative PCR and blood test, done within three and five days before boarding.
This is as well as a full medical clearance to travel.
The 10 amendments to the state of emergency orders introduced last month are:
Hours for supermarkets are now 6am to 10pm. Monday through Saturday; on Sunday the hours are 3pm to 10 pm.
The markets at Fugalei, Vaitele, Salelologa, Afega, and Taufusi have been given one extra hour to operate.
Market hours are from 6 am to 7 pm.
Restaurants and hotel restaurants are allowed to open at 6 am until 11 pm daily except for Sundays.
On Sundays, hours are 3 pm to 10 pm for dining in and orders to-go.
Hours for petrol stations have also been changed to allow sales on Sunday from 3 pm to 10 pm.
The restriction on the number of people allowed to gather for one function has been removed but the government advises that caution be exercised to ensure safety.
A limit on the number of people who gather for Sunday toonai has been removed.
Bingo games are now allowed Monday through Saturday, 6 am to 11 pm.
Pharmacies have been given the green light to open on Sundays, from 3 pm to 10 pm.
Nightclubs have been given new hours as well: 6 am to 11 pm Monday through Saturday.
See the full orders: