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Street vending ban clarified

The Chairman of the National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.), Ulu Bismarck Crawley, says last week's state of emergency (S.O.E.) order prohibiting street vendors from selling goods does not include those selling their produce outside town. 

The explanation by the Chairman is contrary to reports of stalls outside town and within the vicinity of town being removed by Police for allegedly breaching the S.O.E. orders for the coronavirus.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Ulu said the street vendor order specifically targeted vendors in the town area selling goods on footpaths and on the streets of Apia. 

However, he explained that if people selling their fish or produce out of town are gathering with more than five others, then they are not in compliance with the public ban. 

“People are allowed to sell their fish and goods in front of their homes – that is not being banned,” said Ulu. 

“The order is quite clear that the ban is on street vendors and those out in the village are not selling it on the streets…”

Told that there were several fish sellers who were removed by Police due to the S.O.E. orders, Ulu said it could have been due to the number of people present being more than five. 

Since late last week, fish sellers on Vailoa Faleata road and several others who set up small tables in Matautu, Puipa’a, Malie and Faleula were warned by Police officers for selling goods on the side of the road. 

A lady who was selling fish at Malie on Saturday, Susana Leiataua said she had set up her tables at separate locations over the last three days so she could sell her husband’s catch of the day. 

She said the Police had instructed her leave but she did not see any harm in what she was doing. 

“I’m no different from the shopkeeper that sits in the shop and sells goods to people,” said the mother. 

“It’s just me selling my husband’s fish and those that are buying from me stop by one by one or two at one time. I don’t see how that is breaking the orders from the Government.” 

Mrs. Leitaua said the Police had told her that she was breaking the law by selling fish on the road side. 

The woman added that with the ban on buses effective for two weeks, she can only walk a short distance to the main road of the village to sell her husband’s catch.

According to the S.O.E. orders on street orders, it states that there shall be no selling of any goods beside roads, streets, culverts and footpaths. 

Children selling goods in public is also strictly prohibited. There shall be no public gathering of more than five people at any public place. 

These gatherings include entertainment gatherings, nightclubs, restaurants or hotels or any public place customarily used for social gatherings.

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