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“We are a sacrificial lamb”: Out of lockdown, but still closed for business

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Melbourne fitness facilities have been labelled as ‘high-risk environments” by the Chief Health Officer, with the peak industry body disputing the ‘ludicrous’ claims.

The Australian state of Victoria is emerging from its fourth lockdown, but heavy restrictions still remain for many ‘devastated’ sectors.

The Federal Government will no longer declare the state’s capital as a coronavirus hotspot, however this means an end to COVID-19 disaster payments for most people.

Lockdown restrictions eased in Melbourne at 11.59pm on Thursday 10th June, but heavy restrictions still remain for many businesses in both the metro and regional areas of the state.

“We are not making a sacrifice, we are more a sacrificial lamb”

Gyms in Melbourne will be closed for at least another week, a decision one owner has described as “the laughing stock of Australia”

The government has lifted restrictions for cafes, restaurants and retail to reopen from Thursday but fitness facilities will have their doors shut, for at least another week. 

This comes as Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton described these venues as “high-risk environments”.

Professor Sutton said overseas research indicated gyms were places that had “significant opportunity to spread” infections.

“I am asking gyms to make that sacrifice for a further week,” Professor Sutton said.

The CEO of peak fitness industry body, Fitness Australia, disputes the claims made by Sutton.

“Our sector has been making a sacrifice for 18 months. We are not making a sacrifice, we are more a sacrificial lamb,”

CEO of Fitness australia, barrie elvish.

Matt Georgeades owns two Body Fit Training studio’s in Melbourne’s inner west and says Sutton’s claims “are absolutely rubbish”.

Matt Georgeades, BODY FIT TRAINING STUDIO AIRPORT WEST AND Craigieburn OWNER

In metropolitan Melbourne hospitality, hair, beauty salons and retail are among those permitted to re-open, but gyms, amusement parks, dance studios and nightclubs will remain closed.

Is the government support for closed businesses enough?

A further $8.36 million in funding has been announced to provide an additional $2000 grant to support thousands of businesses that will remain shut. 

However, Georgeades says he is wondering “where the funds are going to come from” to continue to support his small business and staff, as well as maintain outgoing expenses with “minimal support from the government”

“Our community is a tough bunch, but throughout the four lockdowns, I’ve seen the mental heath (of members) diminish dramatically,”

Georgeades says.

“Clearly, the Chief Health Officer does not see the importance of people’s mental health.”

Georgeades says he “just wants to know when mental health will be held equally as important as peoples physical health”, as he has seen his members positivity decline as lockdown progressed.

The fitness industry is uniting in a “call to arms”, flooding social media of pictures standing outside empty gyms, in a bid to allow fitness facilities to open as soon as possible.

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Are U.S. voters rebuking Joe Biden over his Israel policy?

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The Israel-Hamas War is entering a sixth month.

During a recent trip in New York, President Joe Biden was asked when a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas might start.

He said he hopes a pause in hostilities can take effect in the coming days to allow for remaining hostages to be released.

Jonathan Tobin, the editor-in-chief of Jewish News Syndicate joins Veronica Dudo. #IN AMERICA TODAY #featured #IsraelHamas #war #Israel #Hamas #ceasefire

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Putin threatens West with nuclear strike

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued a direct threat to employ nuclear weapons against the West, accusing NATO and the United States of preparing to strike Russia.

Putin delivered this ominous warning during his annual address to the nation, raising global tensions to unprecedented levels.

During his speech, Putin accused NATO and the US of deceptive maneuvers, alleging their intentions to launch an attack on Russian territory.

He emphasised Russia’s readiness to defend itself, boasting of its modernized nuclear arsenal and asserting the capability to defeat any potential aggressors on their own soil.

The Russian leader’s words carried a chilling reminder of the destructive power at his disposal, stating, “They have to understand that we also have weapons, weapons that can defeat them on their own territory.”

Such rhetoric underscores the grave risk of escalating conflict and the potential catastrophic consequences of nuclear warfare.

Nuclear war

Putin warned that the deployment of troops to Ukraine by NATO countries could lead to a real risk of nuclear war.

He emphasised Russia’s determination to strengthen its military presence in response to perceived threats from neighboring nations aligning with Western alliances.

In addition to military concerns, Putin criticized Western efforts to engage Russia in an arms race, vowing to bolster Russia’s defense capabilities while accusing the West of attempting to weaken the country economically and politically.

Despite escalating tensions and global condemnation of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, Putin sought to rally support domestically, praising Russian unity and resilience in the face of adversity.

He portrayed Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine as a defensive measure to safeguard national interests and protect Russian citizens.

Putin’s aggressive stance towards the West underscores the deepening rift between Russia and Western powers, raising fears of a potential conflict with far-reaching consequences.

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FAA gives Boeing 30 days to fix 737 MAX program

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The Federal Aviation Administration has issued Boeing a 90-day deadline to devise a comprehensive plan for enhancing quality control procedures after a recent incident involving a 737 Max aircraft.

Less than two months following an alarming occurrence where a door plug blew out of a 737 Max aircraft just nine minutes into an Alaska Airlines flight, the FAA has demanded Boeing to present a thorough strategy to address quality control deficiencies.

The incident, which took place on Flight 1282, revealed that essential bolts required to secure an unused door panel on the nearly new aircraft were missing, according to a preliminary investigation conducted earlier this month.

The door plug had been removed and reinstalled at Boeing’s Renton, Washington, factory where the 737 Max is manufactured.

This incident adds to a string of production issues plaguing Boeing’s flagship aircraft.

Action plan

In response to the FAA’s directive, Boeing affirmed its commitment to developing a comprehensive action plan with measurable benchmarks.

The aerospace giant assured that its leadership is fully dedicated to meeting this challenge head-on.

FAA Administrator Mike Whitaker emphasized the need for Boeing to implement substantial and enduring improvements, emphasizing that foundational changes will necessitate ongoing commitment from the company’s leadership.

The FAA intends to hold Boeing accountable at every stage of the process, ensuring that mutually agreed milestones and expectations are met.

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