Coronavirus: Sandwell traders fear a potential local lockdown could be ‘final nail in the coffin’ | UK News

Market traders in the West Midlands say business was already tough before coronavirus – and now they fear a second wave or local lockdown could be the “final nail in the coffin”.

The borough of Sandwell, which includes West Bromwich, Oldbury, Tipton and Smethwick, is currently in the top 10 of areas in England with the highest rates of infection.

This leaves it in danger of having local restrictions being forced upon it by the government.

Sandwell’s rate of infection rose to 28.1 per 100,000 people in the week up to 27 July, from 26.9 the previous week.

Brett Packer has been selling clothes and home furnishings on the market in West Bromwich for more than 15 years
Brett Packer sells clothes and home furnishings at a market in West Bromwich

Last month, West Bromwich Albion was promoted to football’s Premier League but now the area is climbing a less welcome table.

In the town’s market, trade is only just beginning its return to health after the rigours of lockdown and none of the stall holders or shopkeepers want to see a second wave.

Brett Packer has been selling clothes and home furnishings at the market for more than 15 years.

He said trade was already tough before coronavirus.

“It used to be heaving here on a daily basis, Monday to Saturday,” he said.

“But this could be the final nail in the coffin. And if we get a second wave that could really devastate the whole area.

“If they lock down Sandwell and Smethwick, people will drive to Birmingham, they’ll drive to Merry Hill. They’ve got to do their shopping somewhere.

“And the danger is they might not come back.”

Boris Johnson says people can still go back to the office tomorrow – but some venues won’t reopen and large events will be postponed.

31 July: Boris Johnson delays lockdown easing

The council is trying to forestall the sort of government intervention seen in Leicester, Greater Manchester, Blackburn, Calderdale, Kirklees and Bradford.

It held an emergency meeting on Friday, and has issued amended advice to keep the infection rate down.

The council’s deputy leader Maria Crompton said: “Nationally, the government has advised people who are shielding they could stop shielding from Friday 31 July, but anyone in Sandwell who is shielding is strongly advised to continue to shield to keep themselves safe.

“We know people are looking forward to going out again. However, we are very strongly advising people who are shielding to stay put for now and go out as little as possible.”

The council has issued the following advice:

  • Continue to shield if you are already shielding
  • Do not go inside other people’s houses
  • Get tested and isolate if you have symptoms

The mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, has said there are no plans to lock down any boroughs within the region.

But authorities in Sandwell add the caveat that if the new advice is not heeded, more restrictive measures are “highly likely”.

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Local Authorities Hold 90th Birthday Parade for Maryland Man Who Sewed 300 Masks

Local Authorities Hold 90th Birthday Parade for Maryland Man Who Sewed 300 Masks

Maryland’s Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) and local fire engines helped celebrate the 90th birthday of a man who has sewn hundreds of masks for health care workers with a drive-by parade in Chevy Chase on Saturday, July 25. Dan Willkens made headlines locally in April for his work sewing masks for area hospital workers during a shortage of personal protective equipment caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The MCPD said that as of July, Willkens had sewn “approximately 300” masks for Suburban Hospital. Credit: Montgomery County Police Department via Storyful

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Taiwan investigates first local coronavirus case in a month

Taiwan on Tuesday was investigating its to start with feasible area coronavirus infection in extra than a thirty day period, a Thai gentleman who examined constructive previous 7 days, as the island also faces a increase in scenarios introduced from overseas.

Taiwan’s early response was efficient in holding the pandemic at bay, with just 467 bacterial infections and 7 deaths. Most of the scenarios have been imported and have recovered.

Until finally the Thai man’s beneficial check, the island had not seen a local case of coronavirus an infection since June 24.

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre mentioned it was probing the place and how the man contracted the virus. The migrant employee arrived on the island in January and analyzed optimistic on July 25, soon following returning to Thailand.

Much more than 180 people today who experienced get hold of with him in Taiwan have gone through wellbeing screenings, the centre reported.

“We will make all needed checks, clarifying how he received contaminated and whether or not there is a likelihood for even more contagion,” the centre’s deputy main, Chuang Jen-hsiang, explained to reporters in Taipei.

Taiwan also documented 5 new coronavirus instances on Tuesday, all imported and marking the most important each day rise in bacterial infections due to the fact mid-April. The new cases had been persons who experienced returned to Taiwan from the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Taiwan has largely closed its borders because mid-March and the authorities has been careful about reopening them in scenario of a next wave of bacterial infections. It now has only 20 energetic circumstances.

Daily life in Taiwan has been a lot less disrupted than in international locations with rigorous lockdowns.

The governing administration, although, has inspired social distancing and face masks are commonly worn in general public.

Persons in Australia will have to continue to be at the very least 1.5 metres absent from others. Verify your state’s constraints on accumulating boundaries.

If you are experiencing chilly or flu signs or symptoms, stay property and prepare a exam by contacting your health care provider or get hold of the Coronavirus Well being Information and facts Hotline on 1800 020 080.

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Neighbourhood malls flourish as shoppers stay local

“These positive numbers were also reflected across the Colliers retail management portfolio here in Australia. In May, retail sales had a massive 16.9 per cent rebound and together with the preliminary June numbers meant that the level of sales were now 7 per cent above pre-virus data,” Mr Bate said.

“The big category winners continued to be supermarkets and takeaway food services, which included cafes and restaurants. This was supported with lockdown laws being relaxed further at the end of May and throughout June as more and more people emerged from the virus hibernation.”

Australian Unity has seen this rise in demand and is committing $85 million in further development works across its neighbourhood shopping centre portfolio in the coming months. One is at its Blackburn Centre in Melbourne’s east.

Through its Diversified Property Fund, Australian Unity owns supermarket-anchored neighbourhood shopping centres in Victoria and Western Australia with 72 per cent of its retail portfolios income coming from essential services and supermarkets.

Fund manager Nikki Panagopoulos said she has witnessed only nominal income disruption to the Fund’s distributable income, across the portfolio, which stems from requests for rent relief from businesses adversely affected by government measures in response to COVID-19.

“Footfall in neighbourhood and sub-regional assets has not deteriorated as much as destination assets,” Ms Panagopoulos said.

The fund’s portfolio was re-valued during April and May. This resulted in a 2 per cent increase on prior independent valuations for 80 per cent of the overall portfolio.


Jacob Swan, JLL’s joint head of retail investments (Australia), said investors and landlords have seen a steady rise in interest in food-anchored assets since the pandemic took hold.

“Anecdotally, some neighbourhood and sub-regional shopping centre portfolios collected up to 85 per ent of rent over April and May, which was a very positive outcome. Some of the outstanding rent will be collected by deferral and remaining portion will be waived under the code,” Mr Swan said.

“Importantly, the foot-traffic rebound in these centres has been fast and effective, as workers remain at home in the suburbs frequenting their local neighbourhood or sub-regional centre as opposed to the major CBD and regional centres.”

JLL’s joint head of retail investments (Australia) Sam Hatcher added that many food and beverage retailers managed to adapt quickly to the new operating environment with many “pivoting their business models to cater for greater online deliveries and takeaway”.

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Local peak coalition puts up surprising take on brighter future


The acronym, CARGO, sounds cultish; the branding of priorities, “the Fantastic Five”, sounds like a kids’ adventure story, but behind them is a collaboration and a set of projects that are surprisingly people-focussed.

For once, the Central Australian future is being conceived in terms of building on the strengths of its people and their roots in this place, rather than on edifices and imported ideas imposed from above.

The development, however, has been going on behind relatively closed doors. I say ‘relatively’, because a lot of organisations are involved, and some of them are broadly representative; and ‘closed’ insofar as this has all happened, as far as I’m aware, without public discussion.

The details can be found on the NT Government’s NT Rebound site, dedicated to their pandemic economic response, which is billed as “Achieving a $40 billion economy by 2030”. Submissions “to help shape the agenda” opened on 19 June.

The CARGO submission was lodged jointly by the Alice Springs Town Council and the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday (22 July).

The acronym stands for Central Australian Regional Group of Organisations.

Apart from the two headlining, these organisations are:-

The Regional Councils, the Central Land Council,  Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, Tangentyere Council, Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation, NT Police, the Alice Springs Major Business Group, Arid Lands Environment Centre, Women’s Safety Services of Central Australia, Alice Springs Youth Accommodation and Support Services, St Philip’s College, Desert Knowledge Australia, Mental Health Association of Central Australia, Gap Youth and Community Centre, Northern Territory Airports, Tourism Central Australia and Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap (it is not often that you see their logo on documents like this).

So, a diverse group.

Of their Fantastic Five projects, first up is a “hub and spoke” model for offering Youth Facilities:

“The best of global youth empowerment and social investment models will guide the development of practical, supported programs delivered via a network of multi-resourced services and facilities, appropriately and collectively designed via a process of community-instigated Local Decision Making (LDM).”

Its “deliverables” are defined as a 24-hour purpose-built youth hub (possibly sited on the Melanka block), with satellite services, staffing and programs to all major sites in the region, with links back to the core services in Alice Springs.

This youth hub is a much more comprehensive proposal than the council’s current plans for a youth hub. The idea seems to be strengthening existing services and bringing them together in an integrated network.

These services would be guided by a joint board including representatives of the NT Government, Tangentyere Council, Gap Youth Centre, Child Friendly Alice, Children’s Ground, Lhere Artepe, the Town Council, schools and “other key local groups”.

The time frame is to have facilities across the region opened by July of next year. Total budget: $35m.

Number 2 is more typical of this kind of future planning  – Key Infrastructure Upgrades, identified as improved internet coverage, power and flood infrastructure, and road sealing across the region (Outback Way, Tanami Road) to allow greater connectivity, uptake of solar technologies (by a majority of businesses and residents), and improved self-sufficiency.

“Communications technology is a particular priority in bridging the gap for remote communities.”

Total budget: $140m.

One specified deliverable is about playing catch-up: “Revive and complete flood mitigation work done by DIPL to date, as identified by the Alice Springs Flood Mitigation Committee” – amazing that something so critical to the town’s survival could have been allowed to drift in the way it has been.

If this group can galvanise energy and resources around its deliverables the region will be transformed.

Timeframe: design and construction of approved projects by 2023.

Number 3 is the National Aboriginal Indigenous Cultural Centre & Gallery. It shows that the lessons of the NT Government’s National Aboriginal Art Gallery process, a divisive debacle, have been learned.

CARGO is proposing a steering group jointly chaired by Mparntwarenye (belonging to Mparntwe) custodians and the National Indigenous Cultural Centre (NICC).

Other “stakeholders” on the committee would include appropriate Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal representation; representatives from the Australian Government, NT Government and Alice Springs Town Council; national and international experts in the fields of tourism, cultural knowledge, gallery design and marketing; the Regional Councils and Lhere Artepe; representatives from the  Central Australian community and relevant organisations, and from Desert Knowledge Precinct, Desert Park, and the Town Council “for locational considerations”.

The aim is to “provide a nationally recognised space for the exploration of Aboriginal Human Expression, through dance, art, theatre, song, music, fashion, film, literature, language, framed by the narratives of significant national songlines, alongside symposiums on anthropology, history, architecture, agriculture, social development and economic futures.”

Total budget: $350m, of which $20m is already to hand through the NT Government’s commitment to NICC.

There are no assumptions around a single building providing this space or around location. The lion’s share of the budget – $250m – is described as being for “central and remote facilities construction across Central Australia”.

Number 4 is about developing a model of “Fit-for-purpose housing” for “a cross-section of people transitioning from crisis accommodation, or requiring independent but safe, secure and supported accommodation”.

The client groups are women and children escaping domestic and family violence; people with a mental health diagnosis; young people; and people leaving custody with no fixed address.

There is a bit of cross-over between this project and Number 5 which is a “Desert Living Community Model”. In Number 4 the idea is to develop six housing centres across the region, based upon a pilot village, which could be  at the Desert Knowledge Precinct as part of the Desert Living Community Model.

Number 4 would be delivered by public/private partnerships, with the NT Government providing additional operational funding and various agencies, supporting the different client groups accommodated.

The Desert Living Community Model at the Desert Knowledge Precinct would become “an exemplar of arid zone research and design” for around 50 people, a model for remote Australian communities and desert regions around the world. The village would be lived in and remain as a viable community, with the model evolving through stages. The model would not only trial sustainable housing but land cultivation and things like transport options.

Total budget: $150m.

There is everything to do in front of this group – much finessing of plans before the hurdles of developing partnerships and sourcing or raising finance – and some of the timeframes seem very optimistic. But it is heartening to have such a broad coalition thinking about development in terms of improving the lives of people who live here and doing it in a way that values the desert country we live in and responds to its offerings and demands.

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Plan to build in critical koala habitat sparks local anger as developer challenges council rejection

A year-long dispute to save an area of bushland in Brisbane’s northern suburbs that is home to a population of endangered koalas has reignited as locals campaign to save critical habitat from development.

The grassroots campaign comes as global investment firm ADPEN appeals against the Brisbane City Council’s rejection of its development application for an area of bushland in Bridgeman Downs that has been listed as critical koala habitat by the Queensland Government.

Locals are arguing the development plan — for 39 townhouses, two fast food outlets and a childcare centre — threatens to destroy the Cabbage Tree wildlife corridor.

The development plan is being heard in the Planning and Environment Court as residents continue to lobby the Government to buy back the land from ADPEN and preserve it for local wildlife.

Habitat loss has led to a major decline in koala populations across south-east Queensland in the past two decades.(Supplied: Taronga Zoo)

Almost three-quarters of South East Queensland’s koala habitat has been cleared since 1960, and the population of the endangered species in the area has declined by up to 80 per cent in the past two decades.

Making matters worse, an estimated 30 per cent of remaining koala habitat was destroyed in last summer’s bushfires.

‘This isn’t right’

Moreton Bay Koala Rescue senior rescuer Mike Fowler said clearing trees on the 27,000 square-metre Bridgeman Downs block would have a drastic affect on the local koala population.

“If we start blocking off these corridors, we’re creating literal islands for [the koalas] and they start to inbreed,” Mr Fowler said.

People stand on grass underneath gum trees listening as a woman talks.
Bridgeman Downs residents gathered at the Cabbage Tree wildlife corridor to discuss the developer’s recent legal action.(ABC News: Jessica Rendall)

Local resident Natascha Schwartz said she was determined to stop development on the site.

“I’m driven by social justice and what’s right, [and] this development isn’t right,” she said.

The development application has been knocked back twice by the Brisbane City Council (BCC) and has so far received a total of 128 official submissions opposing the development.

ADPEN is challenging the council’s decision on the grounds that the development plans would be altered to comply with environmental concerns.

The move ignited anger among residents who have opposed the development since it was first put forward in June last year.

Arush Saraswat smiles under gum trees wearing glasses.
Arush Saraswat’s petition has more than 2,000 signatures that call on on the Government to buy back the bushland from developers.(ABC News: Jessica Rendall)

Arush Saraswat started a petition that calls on the Government to intervene and protect the koala habitat.

Ms Schwartz said the area was not in need of more amenities.

“Aspley is literally down the road where we have almost every fast food you could imagine and multiple service stations,” she said.

A sketch of a precinct with townhouses and fast food outlets among bushland.
ADPEN says the development will cater to an increase in population in Brisbane’s north in coming years.(Supplied: ADPEN)

But an ADPEN spokesperson said the precinct was necessary to cater for a future population boom.

Responding to environmental concerns, the firm said it had commissioned a “site specific study” that found the land made “limited contribution to the corridor function of Cabbage Tree Creek”.

‘This is on council’s plate’

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said council was devoted to saving the land and had done all it could by rejecting the application and undertaking court proceedings.

“When it comes to the koala habitat, there’s a joint responsibility between council and state,” Mr Schrinner said.

Council planning committee chair Krista Adams said the Queensland Government had the power to “call in developments” of state interest.

But local MP Bart Mellish said the Government had “very limited call-in powers” and that they would not apply to this situation.

“This is absolutely on council’s plate,” Mr Mellish said.

The matter is due to return to court next month.

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Press Secy. McEnany: Local authorities have lost control of violent protests in Democrat-run cities

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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UPDATED 1:01 PM PT — Tuesday, July 21, 2020

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended federal intervention in Portland, Oregon amid ongoing violent protests. During the press briefing Tuesday, she said President Trump will not give violence a pass and local authorities are not doing enough to stop it themselves.

Attacks on the court house and other violence called for President Trump to send Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers earlier this month. According to McEnany, the department is there to protect federal property from Black Lives Matter activists.

The press secretary criticized the local response to the crisis by saying Mayor Ted Wheeler’s false statements about the federal intervention is not helping quell the violence.

McEnany also noted that the president encourages local leaders to work cooperatively with the federal assistance as Kansas City did with ‘Operation Legend.’

The White House’s hope is to prevent Portland from becoming another CHOP like the violent demonstrations in Seattle.

Federal officers use crowd control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters outside the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Meanwhile, Acting Deputy DHS Secretary Ken Cuccinelli alos defended the president’s decision to deploy federal troops to Portland. He said local officials are politicizing violence in the city.

While speaking on this weekend’s protests, the DHS official made it clear federal troops are in the city to create peace and protect federal property.

Cuccinelli also noted that after two-months of ongoing unrest, it’s become apparent Mayor Wheeler is not doing enough to quell rioters. He also brushed off Wheeler’s concern that federal agents are making violence worse in the city by calling the idea a “fake talking point.”

RELATED: Mother of CHOP shooting victim sues city of Seattle

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