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Gov. makes masks and social distancing mandatory in the territory

Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — With the government conducting repatriation flights, with the first arriving on yesterday with a 159 passengers from Honolulu, Gov. Lemanu Peleti Palepoi Sialega Mauga is making it mandatory to wear masks and observe social distancing in both the public and private sectors.

Lemanu made the new requirment in the first amendment to his Jan. 30th COVID-19 emergency declaration, which is effective through Mar. 1st.

Provisions of the amended declaration state that American Samoa is conducting a repatriation program that will bring people from Hawaii to American Samoa, which remains under the Code Blue threat level.

The amendment to the initial Jan. 30th declaration, states that “Social distancing and mask use” is required.

• all government agencies as well as all private sector businesses and organizations are required to mandate social distancing and mask use inside any building.

• all persons must wear masks in or at a location where mask use is required by the person or agency who controls the location

• every person who is at a public gathering or inside a building that is open to the public must wear a mask

• every person who occupies a bus, taxi, or other commercial vehicle must wear a mask.

Wearing a mask does not apply to:

• children under 2 years of age;

• a person who cannot wear a mask or cannot safely wear a mask because of a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

• a person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or regulations

• a person who is the sole occupant of a vehicle or office.

The new requirement is effective today, Tuesday, Feb. 2nd until the Declaration expires.

Meanwhile, Samoa News received word yesterday afternoon that First Lady, Ella Perefoti Mauga, is one of the 159 passengers now quarantined at the Tradewinds Hotel. This information was confirmed by at least three passengers on the repatriation flight.