The UK’s first outdoor smoking ban is set to be introduced as lockdowns across the country are lifted.
Oxfordshire will become the first county in the country to enforce the controversial ban, with many others set to follow.
As a result of the ban, the county hopes to be ‘cigarette-free’ by the year 2025.
The plan was agreed by public health officials before the pandemic began in February last year, and is now being implemented as lockdown begins to ease.
The county’s strategy includes creating more environments where people feel ’empowered’ not to smoke.
Officials would also aim to encourage employers to stop people smoking outside offices and factories, and to create new smoke-free areas in pavement dining spaces.
Smoking has already been banned in all outdoor seating areas here in Greater Manchester as a part of the current COVID-19 restrictions.
New legislation recently passed by the government calls for bars and restaurants to provide both smoking and non-smoking areas outside their premises, but the city council will go one step further by making all outdoor areas smoke-free so as to not ‘sleepwalk from one health crisis to another.’
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “Smoking is not only terrible for our health but is also an unpleasant thing for bystanders to endure.
“I am sure that after months inside the last thing people want is a face full of smoke when trying to enjoy a meal or drink.”
Leaked documents reveal which Covid restrictions may remain after July 19th
We might have to wear our face masks for a little bit longer…
Leaked documents are claiming that the current social distancing rules and restrictions will be staying in place after the revised ‘freedom day’ on July 19th.
The memo, obtained by Politico, listed a number of restrictions that the government plans to keep in place for the foreseeable future.
According to the leaked documents, face masks may have to remain mandatory in certain settings for the long term, employers and employees will be told to decide amongst themselves as to whether they want to return to the office or work from home.
As well as that, it says some form of border control and quarantine will be needed for a significant period of time to prevent new variants entering the country.
The memo also states that plastic screens – such as those currently used in hairdressers and restaurants – may actually spread Covid rather than prevent it.
Ministers are also considering bringing in new rules for businesses to keep workplaces better ventilated, the documents claim.
Cabinet office sources have since stressed that the document was one of several including multiple options – with nothing signed off by ministers yet or anywhere near being announced.
This comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back the highly anticipated ‘freedom day’, June 21st, by just short of a month to July 19th.
Johnson said this was a result of the new Delta variant, which makes up for 90% of new cases across the country: “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.
“I am confident we won’t need more than four weeks – it’s unmistakably clear that the vaccines are working – but now is the time to ease off the accelerator.
“We have the chance to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”
Covid vaccine to be mandatory for care home workers
The Covid-19 vaccine is to become mandatory for all care home staff members across the country, new reports detailed last night.
It is believed that care staff will be given sixteen weeks to receive the jab or will face the possibilities of either being moved to a different posting or losing their jobs entirely.
The Guardian reported that the new plans are expected to be announced in the next couple of days.
It is expected that ministers will also be pushing ahead with compulsory vaccination for most of the 1.5 million people working in social care across the country, despite employer and staff organisations warning that it could result in workers quitting rather than getting vaccinated.
The reports also claim that the government is keen to make it mandatory for the 1.38 million people who are employed by the NHS in England to get vaccinated against Covid-19 – proposals that have already been criticised by groups representing doctors, nurses and other staff.
Workers who can prove they are medically exempt from receiving the vaccine will not be affected.
The government has been widely criticised for its lack of support of care homes at the start of the pandemic; residents were heavily affected by the outbreak of Covid-19 and significant numbers, including many people with dementia, died as a result.
An investigation by Amnesty International late last year found that a series of ‘shockingly irresponsible’ Government decisions put tens of thousands of older people’s lives at risk and led to multiple violations of care home residents’ human rights.
As a result, between March 2nd and June 12th this year, 28,186 ‘excess deaths’ were recorded in care homes across England, with over 18,500 care home residents confirmed to have died with Covid-19 during this period.
Budget supermarket cheaper than Aldi and Lidl ‘to open 300 stores in the UK’
Get your wallets ready, there’s a new bargain supermarket in town…
A new supermarket that could rival the likes of Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and Asda is set to open hundreds of UK stores, according to new reports.
Mere was founded as Svetofor in Siberia back in 2009, and has already opened four stores in Preston, Castleford, Mold and Caldicot.
However, according to The Grocer, a platform dedicated to supermarket and grocery news, its plans to expand are now well and truly underway – with a few Greater Manchester locations on the list of planned new stores.
And, to make the arrival of this new supermarket even more interesting, Mere’s head of UK buying, Pavels Antonovs, claims it would be thirty percent cheaper than other UK rivals.
He said: “We are the gap in the market. We don’t have any competitors. Our model is no service and no marketing.”
Existing Mere stores are said to include a walk-in chiller room and freezer, while items are typically sold directly from the pallets they’re delivered on.
The supermarket also apparently buys stock from suppliers on a ‘sale or return basis’, meaning it will return any unsold goods to the seller.
The planned locations which are currently listed are Stretford, Stockport, Devon, Neath, Banbury, Selby, Bradford, Middlesbrough, Grantham, Kettering, Plymouth, Beckenham, Gloucester, Northampton, Cardiff, Oswestry, Barnsley, Sheffield, Exeter, Southampton, south Scotland and Wales.