Samoa’s Cabinet has eased some of its state of emergency lockdown restrictions including reopening restaurants and public transport.
Restaurants and buses will resume operating at half capacity, limited travel to Savai’i will begin again and supermarket trading will be lengthened as Samoa moves to relax its Covid-19 state of emergency measures.
The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, in announcing the changes, said the two metre social distancing rule remains, and other state of emergency restrictions should still be adhered to.
From yesterday, ferries between the islands of Upolu and Savai‘i resumed and but will run just four times a week.
Buses can now operate until 5.30pm daily but can only carry 20 passengers.
Restaurants are back in business but must close at 9.30pm while cinemas and night clubs are still closed.
The Savalalo, Fugalei, Taufusi, Vaitele, and Salelologa markets have extended opening hours, as well as the fish market.
But the markets will still not operate on Sundays.
Supermarkets can also trade until 6pm, Monday to Saturday but can only open on Sundays for three hours.
“We can barely sleep at night trying to find ways to balance the governance of this country – in one case we get the virus, at the same time there is the impact on the economy,” the prime minister said.
“We are not yet in the safe zone and we still have to be vigilant. Be mindful, if we do get one case, the government will shut down everything immediately.
“One must travel when necessary but don’t travel for leisure. Also be mindful the Cabinet can shut down transportation anytime, and if you are stuck in Savai‘i that is your fault.
“Social distancing is two meters and this policy is applied globally,” he said.
The prime minister cautioned those who are 60 years and older must remain indoors.
“The policies are applicable to everyone, it does not matter who you are,” he said.
Samoa remains free of the coronavirus.
Last week the Prime Minister confirmed the last 12 outstanding suspected samples of coronavirus patients in Samoa tested negative.
Tuilaepa said the test results for the swabs that were taken from the quarantined patients before an emergency medical flight to New Zealand on Tuesday last week were received late on Thursday evening.