Lockdown shuts churches in Samoa

By Adel Fruean 23 January 2022, 7:00PM

It is a rare sight for church buildings in Samoa to be empty on a Sunday, but the realities of living a pandemic era sunk in, with residents staying indoors after the Government declared a 48-hour lockdown.

The Government announced the two-day lockdown on Saturday as part of its State of Emergency (S.O.E.) restrictions after 15 returning residents tested positive to COVID-19 following their arrival in Samoa from Brisbane, Australia on Wednesday.

The Catholic Church, Methodist Church, the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa and various other denominations observed the lockdown restrictions. 

The last time church services in Samoa were banned was in 2020 when the COVID-19 global pandemic emerged forcing the Samoa Government to close the country's international borders and declare an S.O.E.

The banning of church services in Samoa is to ensure there is no public gatherings in line with the provisions of the S.O.E.

As the first day of the 48-hour lockdown on Sunday the doors and gates into the various church buildings in Samoa were closed. 

While churches were empty and streets and roads deserted, this did not stop various denominations from going online to us social media platforms such as Facebook.

A local church New Wine Worship Center Christian Church issued a statement on its Facebook page advising its congregation that due to the lockdown their Sunday service will be live-streamed at 10am on Sunday.

“Continue to uplift our nation in prayer during these tough times,” read the statement. 

“Let us worship the Lord together from the comfort of our homes,” wrote Pastor Matamua A. Pati from the New Wine Worship Church on Facebook.

The Chairman of the National Emergency Operation Center, Agafili Shem Leo also announced during a recent media conference that church services are prohibited on Sunday due to the lockdown. 

Samoa has moved to Alert Level 3 (RED) for the next 48-hours starting 6pm Saturday and ending 6pm Monday.

Other measures that are observed during the lockdown include everyone staying home; complete border closure; ban all mass gatherings; closure of all services (public and private) except for essential and emergency services; no inter island travel.

The public are advised that only authorised vehicles will be allowed on the roads during the lockdown period. All other activities such as work, schools, travels, restaurants, bars and churches will be closed. 

All trading from retail stores to wholesale outlets, petrol stations, hotels etc. will be all closed down. 


By Adel Fruean 23 January 2022, 7:00PM
Samoa Observer

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