New emergency orders suspend international travel

By Adel Fruean 16 May 2021, 7:00PM

All incoming plane travel to and from Samoa by plane has been suspended, in a new state of emergency extension approved by the caretaker Cabinet. 

The only exceptions to the blanket ban will be for those travelling in extraordinary circumstances. 

The new rules are contained within the latest version of the state of emergency orders, which are now in their 47th edition. 

The new restrictions followed the revocation of Emergency Order 46 issued on 13 May. 

The order was signed into law by the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaleta Sualauvi II, on 14 May. 

The order begins on 15 May and will be in place until 6 June 2021. 

The order permits public gatherings in areas easily accessible by the public with the condition that safety rules specified by the Ministry of Health and National Emergency Operation Centre are observed. 

“Swimming at beaches and rivers is permitted, except on Sunday,” the new orders read.

Ferry services will also operate on Sunday from 3pm for the purposes of transporting fuel and cargo only between Savai’i. Another ferry carrying passengers will depart at 5 pm travelling from Savai’i to Upolu and will dock in the Mulifanua wharf overnight. 

Domestic flight services between Upolu and Savaii are permitted to operate on Sundays from noon.

Bingo is permitted to be held between Monday to Friday from 6am to 11pm,

But there will be limitations on bingo gatherings on Saturdays which are only permitted to run from 6 am to 6 pm.

The orders also contain provisions relating to the 21 May election ordered by the Head of State, His Highness Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualuavi II. 

(The Supreme Court will rule on the validity of that election proclamation on Monday.)

The orders empower the Electoral Commissioner to authorise the secure conduct of general elections; establishing special polling booths; and the power to designate special polling booths allowing for the casting of any special vote, including pre-polling, which is notionally scheduled to be held on 19 May 2021. 

The sale of alcohol will be prohibited during the general election period from Wednesday 19 May to Saturday 22 May.

The Samoa Observer understands that despite the restrictions at the border, incoming flights scheduled for Friday 4 and 25 June to repatriate Recognised Seasonal Employer workers in New Zealand will still be permitted to go ahead. 

There are no repatriation flights scheduled for May. A previously scheduled flight for Friday 14 May has since been cancelled as a response to the newly ordered snap second national election. 

But a flight carrying seasonal workers to Australia leaving on Thursday 13 May will still go ahead. 


By Adel Fruean 16 May 2021, 7:00PM
Samoa Observer

Upgrade to Premium

Subscribe to
Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy unlimited access to all our articles on any device + free trial to e-Edition. You can cancel anytime.