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Grocery stores, coffee shops stop payments to the danger of coronavirus



Grocery stores, coffee shops stop payments to the danger of coronavirus

They call it the paying hero.

When coronavirus cases surged and state and local governments issued home stay orders, grocery store workers navigate the cover lines and panicked customers grew worried about exposure to the virus.

Companies are forced to offer financial incentives to important workers in an effort to keep operations going. The main chains, including Target, Walmart, CVS, Whole Food, Costco, Sprouts and Kroger, offer bonuses or temporary increases to employees.

Starbucks closes thousands of stores and offers paid leave to all employees. Those who continue to work through drive-through that remain open receive an increase of $ 3 per hour.

But this increase in wages – “hero bonuses” and “payment of rewards” – has subsided, even with the number of new infections refusing to go down. With the reopening of the Starbucks store, the $ 3 increase will end in late May. So the Target will increase by $ 2 every hour. Wholesale chains owned by Kroger such as Ralphs, QFC and Fred Meyer will stop paying an additional $ 2 per hour on Sunday.

That is an unexpected surprise for employees who feel the circumstances that make them pay extra and not change much.

“The pandemic will not disappear, the coronavirus will not disappear, so why did they take these two dollars from us? This doesn’t make sense, “said Ralphs cashier Dionna Richardson.

The grocery store has an infection. The Ralphs outbreak in Hollywood marks the largest group of cases in a retail store recorded by the Los Angeles County Public Health Department. Of 158 employees, 21 have tested positive for the virus. Tens of grocery store workers across the country have died.

The shop that Richardson is working on in Mid-Wilshire is as busy and the conditions are as risky as it was since the beginning of the crisis, he said. Customers and employees often cannot or will not maintain the recommended six foot space between them.

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Ralphs installed a Plexiglass barrier on the register, but that was a bit of protection. Customers lean on the barrier and poke their heads, Richardson said.

Often, customers do not wear face coverings. When that happened, Richardson took it himself to ask them to wear it. Some pushed back, made aggressive or sharp comments, or refused to leave the store. “Sometimes it’s like a war zone,” he said.

Unions such as UFCW Local 770, which represents more than 20,000 wholesale workers in Los Angeles, Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo, criticized the change.

“The pandemic reveals how small corporations pay many workers, workers who are very dependent on the public,” John Grant, president of UFCW Local 770, said in a statement. “By paying attention to important workers during the pandemic, wholesale companies are quickly using good PR to raise wages, but they cannot justify taking them, especially because they continue to do business while so many other businesses close and profits are record high. “

While lockdowns have caused financial tension for many companies, wholesale and pharmaceutical companies have seen gains in sales because demand for important goods and food has skyrocketed. The CVS Health drugstore chain saw first quarter profit surge 41%, for example.

A Kroger spokesman said in an email that the company “is committed to continuing to support the safety and mental well-being of our partners” and will continue to discuss compensation and benefits with UFCW. The average hourly wage is $ 15, he said.

A spokeswoman for Whole Foods said the company had not announced whether it would extend the $ 2 increase paid by workers. (Owner of Amazon’s Whole Foods the word it will stop the $ 2 per hour bonus for warehouse workers after May 30.) Costco refuses to answer questions about whether he will maintain a higher pay. Nor do sprouts, which pay a small bonus to employees. CVS and Walmart said they would pay a second round of bonuses in June for work time in May, but did not provide information about future commitments for the bonus.

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Large coffee chains with pockets faced unique difficulties at the beginning of the pandemic. Technically, because they serve food, they provide important services and can continue to operate. But employees at Starbucks and Peets balked, signed an online petition and banded together to demand that the shop close and continue to compensate workers.

Peet scolded workers when closing a number of storefronts and provided a $ 3 salary increase for those who continued to work. It is unclear whether this increase will continue to apply. The company did not respond to requests for comment.

Starbucks Executive Vice President, Rossann Williams announced in a letter published online that most stores would reopen on May 4 with modified operations and “best in class” safety measures. While a $ 3 salary increase and paid leave for those who don’t want to work will be removed, the company is extending paid leave for those who navigate the childcare challenge until the end of May.

“We need to restore and run our stores, wherever they are safe and responsible to do so, so that we can keep each partner working and be a light for our community through the next phase of development and recovery,” he wrote.

When Starbucks employees received a notification from Williams on April 16 that the store would restart operations, workers at Starbucks in Burlington, Vt., Resigned.

Scarlett Moore, a barista, said 15 of the 18 workers in her shop signed a letter saying they would not return to work until an order to stay in a Vermont home – which had been extended until May 15 – was revoked. Management did not recognize the letter, he said, but postponed opening the store.

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But Starbucks stores across California have reopened despite local orders staying at home, according to a manager at a store in Alameda County who requested anonymity.

Brianna Rocha, a barista, worked directly for the past two months on a Starbucks drive-through in Highland Park. The store reopened for cellular orders in early May, and work was busier than before the coronavirus broke out, he said.

Starbucks does its part to make people feel normal again, Rocha said, but that can backfire because customers don’t seem to take safety seriously as a result, putting employees at risk.

Three tables are arranged in a semicircle, like a barricade, around the front door where customers can get their drinks. Still, some people try to enter the shop, bang on the door to be let in, and some don’t wear masks. Whether it’s outside waiting or a general mood of anxiety, the mood seems chaotic.

“It’s really a different animal to have a group of customers who are angry, annoyed, and impatient waiting outside the door to scream at you because you don’t get their frappucino fast enough,” he said.

Rocha said revoking salary increases made it feel like “very performative” on the company side.

“Every company that has given a little more in payments tries to throw it like that to the heroes and they thank us. But that doesn’t reflect much anymore, “he said.

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Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal – Observer



Thiago Monteiro in 14th and 15th before the arrival of the WTCR in Portugal - Observer

Portuguese driver Thiago Monteiro (Honda) finished 14th and 15th this Sunday in the two World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) races held in Aragon, Spain, which precede the Vila Real race.

The Portuguese rider always rode in the tail, he was hindered by the fact that Honda had more excess weight than his rivals.

“If they told me that I would be in this position, I would not believe it. But the reality is that we have not been able to withstand a number of adversities. From the moment when the pace is much lower than other rivals, we are prepared in advance. It’s heartbreaking,” the Portuguese rider began his explanation after the fourth round of the championship.

The Portuguese rider struggled to find the best balance in his Civic, as did his teammate, Hungarian Attila Tassi.


“We still had problems, and we could not reach the full potential of the car. It was very difficult, unpleasant and discouraging, especially since we are going to Vila Real and this scenario does not suit me. But we will have to continue to look for our own path and believe that everything will work out, ”Thiago Monteiro concluded.

Belgian Giles Magnus (Audi) and Spaniard Mikel Ascona (Hyundai) won both races on Sunday.

Ascona leads the league with 129 points, while Thiago Monteiro is 16th with 12 points.

The WTCR competition in Portugal will take place next weekend in Vila Real.

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Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling



Joao Almeida became the champion of Portugal in cycling

This Sunday, Portuguese cyclist João Almeida (UAE-Emirates) became the Portuguese champion in cross-country cycling for the first time, winning the elite national championships held in Mogaduro.

In his first online race since Joao Almeida was forced to pull out of the Vuelta Italia after testing positive for the coronavirus, he won his first national title since becoming time trial champion in 2021.

Almeida crossed the finish line in Mogadora, covering the 167.5 km distance in 4:08.42 hours, 52 seconds behind Thiago Antunes (Efapel) second, Fabio Costa (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) third, and Rui Oliveira (UAE). – Emirates), fourth.

In the end, João Almeida stated that he was “very pleased” with the victory, admitting that the race “went very well” and thanking his teammates.

Former national champion José Neves (W52-FC Porto) did not finish the race, as did Rafael Reis (Glassdrive-Q8-Anicolor) who won the time trial title on Friday.

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Portuguese military admits ‘it will take time’ until territory is taken under control



Portuguese military admits 'it will take time' until territory is taken under control

The “path” chosen for about a year in the fight against rebel groups in the province of Cabo Delgado in northern Mozambique is “the right one,” Brigadier General Nuno Lemos Pires said in an interview with Lusa.

“Now, while the situation is not fully under control, we all understand that, as in any other counter-terrorism situation in the world, it will take a lot of time,” added the head of the European military training mission, although he acknowledged that this “ does not mean that sometimes there are no fears and failures.

However, “this is part of what constitutes an action taken against terrorists who operate in a very wide area, who in themselves have the initiative and the ability to hide in a very wide area,” he said.

In fact, he stressed, many of the recent attacks that have taken place in the south of Cabo Delgado in recent weeks are due to the fact that Islamist extremist rebels had to “flight from the north” of the province.

“Because this was a consolidated military operation carried out in close cooperation between the Mozambique Defense and Security Forces (FSS), [e com as forças d]Rwanda and SAMIM (Southern African Development Community Mission (SADC) in Mozambique), who were clearing out the intervention areas that existed in the area, the reaction of many terrorists was to flee the area, go further south, where they were not pursued. , and make new attacks,” he explained.

“In such cases, the initiative almost always belongs to the terrorists. There are few of them, they hide among the population, they move over very large territories, with a lot of dense vegetation, it becomes very difficult to find them, but you can easily move,” he continued.

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On the other hand, the Portuguese general emphasized, “it is now difficult for these groups” “to concentrate power and forces for large-scale operations, as was the case three years ago during the conquests, such as Mocimboa da Praia or Palma.” ,” he said.

“They don’t have that ability. Many of these attacks even demonstrate [estratégias] survival [clássicas das guerrilhas]. They’re looking for food, they’re looking for supplies, they’re searching deep down for a place where they can survive, because the area is already under quite a lot of control. [por parte] Mozambique FSS, Rwandan forces and SAMIM,” he explained.

In this context, Nuno Lemos Pires highlighted the “quick response” of the Mozambican authorities to each of these developments, starting with head of state Filipe Nyusi.

“I think it is exemplary that the moment there is a movement or a series of significant attacks in other areas, we immediately see the President of Mozambique heading north, linking up with his Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMGFA). , with the Minister of Defense, with the Minister of the Interior, and outline plans on the ground for a quick change of equipment and the ability to respond to such movements,” he said.

During one such trip to northern Mozambique in mid-June, Mozambican Interior Minister Arsenia Massingue said that Mozambican police were informing the “enemy” – the rebel forces in Cabo Delgado – about the positions of the FDS and allied forces on the ground.

However, Lemos Pires downplayed the situation. “We must be aware that there are infiltrations in any political system. It’s happening everywhere. Ignoring this dimension is tantamount to ignoring what is happening everywhere,” he said.

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“I don’t know of a single case of insurgency, counterinsurgency, terrorist or counter-terrorist combat where these leaks didn’t happen frequently. You need to be careful. .

In addition to the vastness of the territory that has been the scene of conflict and the topography favorable to insurgent guerrilla strategies, the porous borders with Tanzania to the north of Cabo Delgado and Malawi to the northwest also pose a danger. challenges the SDF and allied forces of SAMIM and Rwanda.

Lemos Pires also relativized this question. “We are talking about transnational terrorism, and it is good to understand that the situation in the north of Mozambique, in Cabo Delgado, is not limited and is not limited – and has never been limited – exclusively and exclusively to this region. A phenomenon that exists throughout Africa. , namely in Central Africa,” he said.

The UETM commander even took advantage of this circumstance to formulate an “extended response” to “a broad problem, a regional one, and the solution must also be a broad regional one.”

Therefore, “it’s very good what we see here on the ground, in fact, this is the unification of the efforts of regional African forces to try to deal with a problem that really worries everyone,” he concluded.

“What happens in one region can affect another. That is why it is in everyone’s interest that these groups be fought, detained and that the narrative that they are currently spreading can be counteracted – we hope that there are fewer and fewer successes,” the Portuguese general stressed.


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Lusa/The End

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