Public warned against airport gatherings

Members of the public have been warned against joining large public gatherings at Faleolo International Airport or risk facing fines of up to $500.

The gatherings are prohibited under the terms of the COVID-19 state of emergency orders; the rules first proclaimed in March last year and progressively extended through till this month.

The Disaster Advisory Committee’s (D.A.C.) Chairman, Agafili Shem Leo, said that the penalties for breaching emergency orders ranges from $200 to $500 for individuals; organisations can face financial penalties of between $5,000 to $7,000.

The reminder was issued in a statement released by the D.A.C. on Tuesday afternoon.

“The Government through the Disaster Advisory Committee has reminded the public that gatherings at the airport is (sic) strictly prohibited under the COVID-19 State of Emergency Orders,” the statement said.

“This was during a National Emergency Operation Centre [N.E.O.C.] Press Conference where the D.A.C. Chairman Agafili Tomaimano Shem Leo raised concerns on (sic) members of the public gathering at the Faleolo International Airport on flight days to see off families and friends.

“Ahead of every repatriation flight week, the N.E.O.C. issues a Public Notice reminding the general public that access to all COVID-19 Quarantine sites is strictly prohibited as well as all people are prohibited (sic) from gathering at Airports or Wharves unless it is for permitted travel.”

The Chairman confirmed that the Ministry of Police will continue to regulate the access at the International Airport as well as at the wharf at Matautu

According to the statement, Samoa remains at a COVID-19 alert status of Level 1 (Yellow). State of emergency orders continue to encourage social and physical distancing as well as basic hygiene and wearing facial masks in public places.

“Agafili continued on by saying that the above processes have been put in place to maximize protection of the public from potential exposure,” the statement read.

“He urged the public’s understanding (sic) and continuous support in keeping Samoa safe during these trying times.

The state of emergency order relating to public gatherings at airports states that; all people are prohibited from gathering at departure points (airports and wharves) unless permitted for travel.

The penalties for breaching the orders are $200 (for a first offence) and $500 for a continuous offence. Organisations or corporations can face fines of up to $5,000 for a first offence, and a fine of $7,000 for a continuous offence.

“[The] Disaster Advisory Committee has reminded members of the public that large gatherings at the airport is strictly prohibited (sic) under the COVID-19 State of Emergency Orders.”

The Faleolo International Airport was packed on Tuesday with families and friends bidding farewell to departing seasonal workers.

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