Seasonal workers fly out on eve of lockdown

By Adel Fruean 22 January 2022, 10:30PM

More than 100 Samoan seasonal workers left the country for New Zealand, hours before the country went into a 48-hour nationwide lockdown.

The families of the departing workers parked outside the Faleolo International Airport on Saturday morning to bid farewell, as restrictions put in place by the airport authorities only allowed one family member, to accompany the departing worker into the departure terminal. 

The Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.), advised in a public notice published on Friday, that their flight is scheduled to depart Samoa on Saturday.

The notice advised the workers to be at the airport by 9am to prepare for the 22 January charter flight.

The Samoa Airport Authority also issued a public notice emphasising that the airport is off limits on Saturday 22 January 2022.

The notice added that this follows the Government's state of emergency (S.O.E.) restrictions.

The restrictions that will be enforced include: all travelling passengers for the departing Air New Zealand flight shall produce valid travelling documents at the Toll Gate before granting entrance into the airport.

"Failure to comply shall be denied entrance," read the notice.

"Designated routes shall be provided during passenger drop off and all vehicles shall exit the airport immediately after.

"All are advised to bid farewell at own residences and drop-off parties shall be limited to one person only."

Additionally, the notice added that the S.O.E. restrictions shall be enforced by the Police and on-duty aviation security at the airport.

"Your full co-operation will be greatly appreciated and we thank you for bearing with us during these challenging times."

The flight taking Samoan seasonal workers to New Zealand departed around 2pm on Saturday, just hours before the 48-hour nationwide lockdown kicked in.

In a previous interview with Pulotu, more than a thousand Samoan seasonal workers have been deployed in New Zealand while more than two thousand are employed in Australia. 

By Adel Fruean 22 January 2022, 10:30PM
Samoa Observer

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