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The Belmont County’s businesses seeking advice | News, Sports, Jobs

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ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Belmont County’s businesses sought advice Wednesday morning during one of their Coffee and Connections conferences, hosted via Zoom by the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce.

The process of reopening and conducting operations during the coronavirus pandemic led the discussion, with bad news for many nonprofit organizations and traditional summer events.

Chamber Director Wendy Anderson had Belmont County Deputy Health Director Robert Sproul as a guest.

She said 28 people participated, representing business, education and nonprofit organizations.

“This was one of our largest ones. We actually had to send people away,” Anderson said.

Sproul outlined the phased reopenings.

“The nonprofits were wondering when they would be able to do some fundraising,” Anderson said. “We still are waiting for the governor to be able to list that and tell us.

“Some of the problems we’re having right now is funding for businesses that were kind of held up due to the coronavirus, so they couldn’t open. Now the issue is, what about the nonprofits?” Sproul said. “So the fairs, the festivals … they may not be able to open this summer, and that’s a lot of funding that they’re going to lose. So they asked me, and I’m going to ask Columbus, to see if there’s any financial help for those entities.”

“We found out that Barnesville’s pool is not going to open for the season. With all the precautions, it’s too much,” Anderson said.

The pool at St. Clairsville Memorial Park will be closed during Memorial Day weekend.

“The hotel pools are in the same boat that the outdoor pools are. We’re all waiting for the governor to make his decisions on how that’s going to look going forward,” Anderson added.

Belmont County Tourism Director Barb Ballint elaborated on summer and fall activities that will or may be canceled. Events such as the Rubberneck Tour and the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival are still in doubt.

Meanwhile, a representative from St. Clairsville Public Library said they have had an increase of data usage.

“People are driving and parking around the library and downloading books, they’re downloading magazines, movies,” Anderson said. “They’re trying to come up with a storytime where they can have families come in and do small group gatherings.”

Anderson said Belmont College and Ohio University Eastern were also represented and inquired when more normal behavior might resume.

“He said nothing’s going to be as normal. We’re all going to have to be flexible in what we do,” Andderson said of Sproul. “We are to wear our masks if we are out in public, and really should wear our masks when entering any businesses.”

Sproul also answered other general questions from restaurant owners about precautions for opening their doors to dine-in service Thursday.

“People are excited to get back out. They’ve been cooped up, we understand that, but again trying to get people to understand we have to do the social distancing. … We do not want this thing to spread. … If we have a huge spike, there may be repercussions and (Gov. Mike DeWine) may reconsider some of these openings.”

A representative from the Ohio Treasurer’s Office also participated, and Treasurer Robert Sprague will speak at the June 3 conference and answer questions about financial assistance.

“There’s going to be a lot of questions. If they requested money and they didn’t get it … if they didn’t request money and they want to request money … he’s going to be talking about the financial part of it,” Anderson said.

Anderson said Food Truck Fridays will continue in front of the Belmont County Courthouse in St. Clairsville, with spaces on the sidewalk marked so people know how to stand a safe distance apart. Wood Fired Pizza Co. will be featured today.

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Waitomo most affected by Tourism Holdings’ proposed job losses

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The iconic Waitomo Caves attraction is likely to be the hardest hit by job losses proposed by Tourism Holdings.

The company told the New Zealand stock exchange it was consulting staff over plans to cut 140 positions from its Waitomo Caves, Kiwi Experience and group support operations.

Tourism Holdings (THL) chief executive Grant Webster confirmed that more than half the Waitomo Caves team could go, but would not reveal any further detail.

“We want to work with our local hapu and other partners to see what else we can do, and we have selection criteria to work through.”

READ MORE:
* Campervan quarantine camps killed off after costing Government $2 million
* Tourism Holdings to exit international RV rental platform Togo
* Long haul for Tourism Holdings as profit falls by a quarter on back of weak US sales

Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster says up to 140 staff could lose their jobs.

Phil Doyle/Stuff

Tourism Holdings chief executive Grant Webster says up to 140 staff could lose their jobs.

Webster said he hoped Department of Conservation work could use staff displaced from Waitomo.

Pre-coronavirus more than 650,000 people annually visited the Waitomo area, and about 90 per cent of them were international visitors.

Social distancing rules had halted black water rafting trips and cave tour groups had to be reduced from a maximum of 50 people to just 10.

“As that eases we expect to be able to open up for all tours,” Webster said.

It is expected that close to a quarter of THL's 600 employees will be impacted by the proposal.

Corin Walker Bain/SUPPLIED

It is expected that close to a quarter of THL’s 600 employees will be impacted by the proposal.

Kiwi Experience had more than 30 backpacker buses on the road in peak season and it ceased operating just before lockdown began.

Webster said the Covid-19 restrictions had a major impact on the company’s global business, with 100 staff already laid off in the US.

Wage subsidies in New Zealand and Australia had delayed the need to down size until now, and THL would ramp up operations as demand increased. 

“That is absolutely what we want to be doing, and we have achieved that to a small degree in the US where we have started to reemploy people we had to lay off.”

THL launched a campaign on Monday to “get New Zealand moving” by offering discounted rates on campervan rentals.

Webster said demand for campervans exceeded expectations and helped save jobs in that area of the business.

The way New Zealand and Australia had dealt with the Covid-19 crisis had been very well-received and that could lead to a very swift recovery for the backpacker market. 

“If you talk to large travel agents that promote that kind of travel in the UK and Europe, they are very upbeat about the opportunities when borders reopen.”

THL has operations in Australia, the United Kingdom, United States and Australia and last year reported a profit after tax of $29.8 million, a 52 per cent drop from 2018.

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ND COVID-19 cases announced on May 25 | News, Sports, Jobs

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Positive COVID-19 Test Results

Results listed are from the previous day.

LAB EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTION

The lab experienced a recent malfunction on two pieces of lab equipment. Out of an abundance of caution, 82 positive results will be considered inconclusive and the individuals have been asked to retest. All the facilities involved have been notified. The issue was caught quickly and early; the malfunction has been corrected and has not impacted lab processing.

The retests will run over the next couple of days – an update will be provided in future news releases and more information will be provided at the news conference on Tuesday. For now, the previous results remain in the total positive count and will be adjusted after all the results are in. More to come.

Total Retests Complete: 23

Positive: 1

Negative: 22

INDIVIDUALS WHO DIED WITH COVID-19

· Woman in her 80s from Cass County with underlying health conditions.

COUNTIES WITH NEW POSITIVE CASES REPORTED TODAY

Cass County – 37

Grand Forks County – 2

Ransom County – 1

BY THE NUMBERS

84,503 – Total Number of Tests Completed* (+2,043 total tests from yesterday)

66,350 – Total Unique Individuals Tested* (+862 unique individuals from yesterday)

63,893 – Total Negative (+823 unique individuals from yesterday)

2,457 – Total Positive (+40 unique individuals from yesterday)

A case from yesterday identified as positive was negative and is reflected in today’s total.

2.0% – Daily Positivity Rate**

154 – Total Hospitalized (+2 individuals from yesterday)

41 – Currently Hospitalized (+1 individuals from yesterday)

1,551 – Total Recovered (+55 individuals from yesterday)

54 – Total Deaths (+1 individual from yesterday)

* Note that this does not include individuals from out of state and has been updated to reflect the most recent information discovered after cases were investigated.

**Because the serial tests completed and added to the total number of tests completed can result in new individuals who test positive, the daily positivity rate will be calculated using the total positives for the day by the daily number of tests completed instead of the daily number of unique individuals tested.

For descriptions of these categories, visit the NDDoH dashboard.

For the most updated and timely information and updates related to COVID-19, visit the NDDoH website at www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus, follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

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Physical Jobs Tied to More Sick Leave, Earlier Retirement | Health News

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By Robert Preidt, HealthDay Reporter

(HealthDay)

MONDAY, May 25, 2020 (HealthDay News) — People with physically demanding jobs take more sick leave. They also have higher unemployment rates and shorter work lives, a new Danish study finds.

“This study showed that high physical work demands are a marked risk factor for a shortened expected working life and increased years of sickness absence and unemployment,” study co-author Lars Andersen and colleagues wrote. Andersen is with the National Research Center for the Working Environment in Copenhagen.

For the study, the researchers looked at people ages 30, 40 and 50 in Denmark who had a job as of November 2013. The investigators examined their periods of sick leave, unemployment and disability pension payments until 2017.

More men than women had physically demanding jobs, such as carpentry, masonry, painting, plumbing, cleaning and manufacturing.

Men with such jobs were an average of nearly three years younger than men in physically undemanding jobs, while women in physically demanding jobs were about 10 months older than those in physically undemanding jobs.

For both men and women, physically demanding jobs were strongly associated with shorter work life (years worked until retirement), and more sick leave and unemployment, compared with physically undemanding jobs.

For men age 30, working life would be expected to last almost 32 years for those with physically demanding jobs and nearly 34 years for those with physically undemanding jobs. Among women, the figures were just over 29.5 years and nearly 33 years, respectively, according to the researchers.

Overall, a 30-year-old woman with a physically demanding job would be expected to have three fewer years of working life, 11 more months of sick leave and 16 more months of unemployment than a 30-year-old woman with a physically undemanding job, the findings showed.

The equivalent figures for a 30-year-old man with a physically demanding job would be two fewer years of working life, 12 additional months of sick leave and 8 more months of unemployment, according to the study.

The findings were published online May 12 in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

The study can’t prove a definite cause-and-effect relationship. Still, “the findings highlight the urgency of addressing problems related to physical work demands with regard to, for example, an increasing statutory retirement age,” the authors wrote in a journal news release.

Copyright © 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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