State of emergency trading hours changed

Trading hours for supermarkets from Monday to Saturday have reverted to 6am–7pm under revised state of emergency restrictions, the Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi has confirmed.

He noted in his weekly programme with TV3 that small shops, however, will operate on normal trading hours.

“We have gone back to enforce the early closure of shops; the most important part is supermarkets to return to closing at 7 pm, while the small shops can open at any time,” he said. “The reason is because they are just small stores run by families while the large stores have many employees and they also need rest.

“And not only this, but it also gives the small stores a chance and that’s why we’re continuing this. 

“If they have the strength to open all night, that’s okay, as long as the small businesses get more customers, the larger stores are already well established.”

For Sunday, trading hours for supermarkets have returned to 3pm–7pm while small stores can open from 3pm and close normal hours.

Tuilaepa did not go into detail whether other S.O.E. order relaxation – including permitting a ferry to sail for cargo to Savaii and passengers to Upolu on a Sunday – have been revoked.

Samoa’s first repatriation flight of the year is scheduled for Friday 22 January and is intended to bring home sailors from several countries.

On Thursday, the Government Press Secretariat and the National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.) circulated a warning to the general public that no one is to enter any quarantine site.

“The public is advised that any person who contravenes any of the restrictions in this notice commits an offense and is liable for a $2,000 penalty under the Orders of the State of Emergency, and relevant provisions of the Disaster and Emergency Management Act 2007,” the notice reads.

“Please be reminded that the ‘COVID-19 Quarantine’ process has been put in place to maximize protection of the public from potential exposure to, or contact with the individuals in isolation.”

Further changes to travel into Samoa include restrictions on anyone 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.

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, plus a full medical clearance to travel.

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