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Chester Zoo given green light to open from council, just needs government approval

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Alex Watson

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Council environmental health officers have given Chester Zoo the green light to reopen with safeguards in place, now the zoo just needs the government to grant permission. 

Yesterday Chester Zoo voiced its concerns regarding the survival of the much-loved zoo unless it can raise £1.6m a month to continue its efforts. 

The Zoo took to Facebook to announce the concern and has sucessfully raised over £800,000 in less than 24 hours.

Chester Zoo has raised an inconsistency of allowing giant outdoor spaces to open without capacities on numbers or successful managment of social distancing, something which the zoo could put into practise. 

Chester Zoo / Facebook

Cheshire West and Chester Council leader Cllr Louise Gittins said in a statement: “The council’s environmental health officers have been involved in Chester Zoo’s preparations for a safe opening and we are confident that the measures being taken will enable the zoo to operate safely, with significant public health measures in place.

“We fully support the campaign launched today by Chester Zoo, and call on government to apply more consistency and evidence in its plans for safe re-opening, with the support of local public health teams.”

Clare Hayward MBE (Chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partner) and Angie Robinson (chair of Marketing Cheshire) issued a joint statement that read: “Public safety is our number one concern as the attractions and businesses in our region start to re-open.

“We know, as one of the UK’s leading visitor attractions, just how seriously Chester Zoo have taken their preparations to open in a Covid-secure way, making every possible adjustment to ensure the wellbeing of visitors, staff and the animals.”

Chester Zoo

Secretary Bob Clough-Parker said: “What on earth is the rationale for lifting restrictions on open spaces including National Trust parks, beaches, etc but then seeking to keep the open-air zoo closed. It’s nonsensical and represents a ludicrous example of topsy-turvy thinking.

“The zoo is a major contributor to the economy of Chester and therefore to the prosperity of its businesses and residents. We urge the Prime Minister to reverse the decision – and swiftly.”

Jamie Christon, Chester Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer will guest speak at the club’s virtual meeting on Tuesday 9th June. 

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B&M announces plans to open 45 new stores

Who else is excited for this?

Proper Manchester

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Hugh Venables / Geograph

We’ve got some good news for bargain hunters, as discount retailer B&M is set to open up to 45 new stores in the UK.

The company has announced that it plans to open more stores than expected this year, after its sales and profit jumped during the pandemic.

B&M kept most of its stores open during lockdown while some rivals shut their doors, with the demand for bargains rising as money became tight.

Albert Bridge / Geograph

As a result, it expects to open between 40 and 45 new stores before the end of the financial year – with most opening towards the end of this period – although details of where they’ll be located are unclear at the moment.

Simon Arora, the chief executive of the retailer, said: “Our business model is proving well-attuned to the evolving needs of customers, given our combination of everyday value across a broad range of product categories being sold at convenient out-of-town locations.

“Our people have risen to the many challenges posed by the Covid-19 crisis, not least in serving our customers through a period of high demand, keeping our shelves filled, providing a clean and safe shopping environment, as well as sourcing higher volumes than we had planned.”

Jaggery / Geograph

B&M was given permission to keep its stores open while others were forced to shut during the summer lockdown as it also sells food and DIY products.

Amisha Chohan, an equity research analyst at Quilter Cheviot, added: “B&M announced another positive trading update this morning, proving it is firing on all cylinders in both the UK and France.

“The retailer is also winning market share and has attracted a new, middle class, customer base – who are beginning to shop with them regularly.

“We believe B&M will continue to outperform peers as consumers become much more money conscious.”

Are you excited for more B&Ms?

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Parrots removed from wildlife park after they taught each other to swear at customers

This is hilarious…

Alex Watson

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Lincolnshire Wildlife Park/Facebook

Five African grey parrots who were adopted by Lincolnshire Wildlife Park taught each other to swear in isolation. 

The group of parrots at the zoo have now had to be put back into isolation to stop them from swearing at customers.

Adopted together on August 15th, they shared a room at Lincolnshire Wildlife Park but it turns out they’ve been up to no good in lockdown.

Although staff at the park have found it hilarious and enjoyed watching the parrots, swift action has had to be taken when they started cursing at customers.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Park/Facebook

CEO of the park, Steve Nichols said the parrots have been put in a ‘time out’, although he did confirm this isn’t the first time they’ve had swearing parrots. 

He told LincolnshireLive: “Every now and then you’ll get one that swears and it’s always funny. We always find it very comical when they do swear at you.”

He added: “The more they swear the more you usually laugh which then triggers them to swear again.”

The room full of swearing birds, the chief said. was similar to ‘an old working men’s club scenario’.  

Lincolnshire Wildlife Park/Facebook

Within 20 minutes of being in front of customers, the birds were swearing at them.

Mr Nichols confirmed that it was actually just a funny situation, explaining: “We found it highly amusing and the customers were fine – they were no problem at all.

“But we worried because we had a weekend coming up and children coming.”

The plan for the birds now is to release them separately so they can’t ‘encourage’ each other. Everyone at the park who has been working hard throughout the pandemic has enjoyed the laughs from the mischievous parrots.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Park/Facebook

“It has been a real rough year, but we are the eternal optimists and we have no option. We have to keep moving forward,” said Mr Nichols.

The parrots have both been good for business.

Mr Nichols explained: “It is quite an unusual place where you are walking around and people are swearing at aviaries trying to get a parrot to swear back at them.”

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Government ‘preparing a total social lockdown plan’ for the North of England

Thoughts?

Alex Watson

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Louis Hansel/Unsplash

Pubs and restaurants could be forced to close for a fortnight as part of a ‘total social lockdown’ plan.

The emergency plan is currently being considered by the government following spikes in the number of cases across the North of England.

In Greater Manchester, each borough is currently at ‘Red Alert’ with the infection rate in Bolton one of the highest in the country (235.1 cases per 100,000 people). 

As things stand, in Greater Manchester people cannot visit friends and family in their homes or gardens and cannot socialise with people outside of their household or bubble in any public place.

These rules could now be rolled out across the North. 

The Times reports that a ‘social lockdown’ was presented as one of the options by the Covid-19 strategy committee, the week before new restrictions were imposed.

The emergency plans have been drawn up after local restrictions put in place in areas such as Greater Manchester failed to reverse the surge in infections.

Under these proposed plans, schools, shops, factories and offices where staff cannot work from home will remain open.

It would also see meeting other people socially in any indoor location banned, as well as pubs and restaurants being ordered to close for two weeks.

London may also face these same restrictions, if cases continue to rise in the capital.

From today, every person in England is required to self-isolate by law if they test positive for Covid-19 or are contacted by the NHS Track and Trace service. 

Those who fail to do so risk fines starting at £1,000 that can reach £10,000.

The number of people who have tested positive (infection rate) in Manchester now stands at 201 per 100,000. An additional 1,000 new confirmed cases were recorded over the week leading to September 24th. 

 

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