Argos workers' fury over 'putting their health at risk' to sell paddling pools, sand bags and BBQs

ARGOS employees have slammed the company for keeping stores in Sainsbury's open as usual during the coronavirus crisis as customers flock to buy non-essential items.

One worker told The Sun he felt the company was "risking staff members' health" by staying open.

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Under the latest government’s rules, shops selling non-essential items must close.

Argos closed its standalone stores earlier this week, but its stores which are within Sainsbury’s supermarkets remain open because they can be considered part of the supermarket, which is allowed to stay open.

Some staff who work in standalone stores have been redeployed to help these smaller stores, the retailer confirmed.

But an Argos employee who works in one such store in London told The Sun that many workers at higher risk from the virus had already been sent home and others were self-isolating.

SHOPS ALLOWED TO STAY OPEN

ONLY a small group of retailers will be allowed to stay open, they include: 

  • Supermarkets
  • Pharmacies
  • Vets
  • Newsagents
  • Pet shops
  • Hardware stores
  • Retail shops in hospitals
  • Petrol stations
  • Laundrettes
  • Undertakers
  • Banks
  • Post Offices
  • Off licences
  • Public toilets
  • Credit unions

He said this means stores have “barely enough staff to cope”.

He added that staff in stores were being forced to share face masks intended to protect them from catching the virus.

The man, who has worked for Argos for ten years, added: “Argos stores in Sainsbury's are so tiny that the aisles are not even wide enough for two people to get past each other, so social distancing is literally impossible.”

He said when the crisis began, he expected Argos to stock more health and medical equipment but no extra stock has come in.

“Even delivery drivers, the people that should only be delivering [essentials such as] white goods are being forced to make multiple drops for items as frivolous as video games and Airpods,” he said.

He added that Argos employees had been sent a letter telling them that they were now considered key workers.

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Another employee, who manages deliveries at Argos, told The Sun he felt the company was “trading workers safety for stupid money” by staying open.

He was concerned that drivers routinely “cross the whole of the UK” in a day and risk spreading coronavirus.

He said: “The sites are understaffed due to what is happening, but the load orders are doubled.

“The depots are selling just like it's the week before Christmas or on Black Friday.

“People are buying toys mainly, and electronics.”



Other workers took to Twitter to express their outrage that people continued to buy items which are not considered essential items.

Laura Barlow, 22 from Bognor Regis, tweeted: “We have 100s of UNESSENTIAL items that we have to put away for the customers that should be staying at home. Why is Argos still open!?”

She also shared a photo of crates full of items for customers.

Another worker, Matt Bradley from Manchester, said: “All these f**ing BBQ’s, paddling pools and bags of sand we are rapidly selling are ‘essentials’.”

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A spokesperson from Sainsbury's, which owns the Argos brand, told The Sun: “The government has been clear that online retailers should stay open as part of essential retail services and so we continue to accept orders from the Argos website.

“We are strongly advising customers to only place Argos orders online.

“These can then either be delivered to their home or collected from Argos store-in-stores while they shop for essential items in Sainsbury’s supermarkets.

“Many colleagues who have been working in Argos standalone stores are redeploying to help feed the nation in our supermarkets.

“The safety of colleagues and customers is extremely important to us and we have introduced a range of measures to keep everyone safe – from asking everyone to practice social distancing, to closing every other till and collection point and providing hand sanitiser to drivers.”

Yesterday, off licences, public loos and credit unions were added to the list of coronavirus essential shops that can stay open.

And here are all the other shops which are still trading.

Most supermarkets have announced special shopping hours for NHS workers – we've rounded up everything you need to know here.

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Spring-breakers defy coronavirus lockdown: ‘This virus ain’t that serious’

They’re gonna fight for their right to party.

Thousands of American college students refuse to let the pesky coronavirus pandemic get in the way of their annual pilgrimage to Florida for spring break.

Ignoring repeated warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization about the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus, the masses showed up in Miami — only to find their good times hijacked by safety measures to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus that are taking effect.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered the closure of all bars and nightclubs in the state for 30 days as of Tuesday evening — after college crews were spotted partying at Clearwater Beach. “A lot of students have just been congregating at the universities and doing things there, and that’s not something we want,” DeSantis said at a news conference Tuesday.

Resolute revelers in the city’s South Beach neighborhood, however, vowed to keep the party popping.

“If I get corona, I get corona,” Brady Sluder, a defiant party animal of indeterminate age from Ohio, told Reuters. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”

Launching at the peak of Miami’s tourist season, coronavirus precautions will also see national movie theaters, gyms and other businesses shut down to discourage gatherings of more than 10 people, which the CDC warns could spread the virus. However, the governor stopped short of closing some of the beaches spring-breakers were partying on, WFLA reported.

Still, Brianna Smith, a 21-year-old from Wisconsin, whined that the measures were too drastic.

“It’s really messing with my spring break. What is there to do here other than go to the bars or the beach? And they’re closing all of it,” Smith told the outlet. “I think they’re blowing it way out of proportion. I think it’s doing way too much.”

Ni Smith, who journeyed from New Orleans to Miami with three besties for spring break, said her crew intended to soldier on in the face of disappointment.

“I mean, it sucks, but we’re going to make the best of it. It sucks, and I’m from New Orleans, so this really sucks,” the 23-year-old said as she cruised along South Beach’s legendary Ocean Drive in a golf cart. “We’re going to enjoy ourselves. We’re having day parties all day. It’s my birthday, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, turn it up.”

Unlike packed Clearwater Beach, a large section of South Beach is now empty after it was closed off to visitors to prevent infections, Reuters reports.

“Everything’s closed. A lot of restaurants are doing to-go food and they’re serving just the hotel guests so they can obviously order food to their rooms,” said bar manager Jeffrey Holinka. “The beaches are closed . . . Everything’s been closed for the last couple days now and that might be for a longer period of time.”

The bottom line for spring-breaker Atlantis Walker, 21, of Indiana: “What they’re doing is bad; we need a refund. This virus ain’t that serious. There’s more serious things out there like hunger and poverty — we need to address that.”

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Coronavirus shock claim: ‘Smoking gun of Chinese lab leak’ exposed by bioweapons expert

The deadly virus has now infected more than 120,000 people worldwide, claiming the lives of more than 4,300 in the process, as numbers in Europe spike, while Asia appears to be curbing the effects. This morning, Iran’s former President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, declared COVID-19 is a bioweapon from a military laboratory, stating: “It is clear to the world that the mutated coronavirus was produced in a lab.” His point echoes a claim made by US Senator Tom Cotton last month, but now, Francis Boyle has exposed the “smoking gun” that he says proves this theory.

The Professor of international law at the University of Illinois served on the board of directors of Amnesty International, the Advisory Board for the Council for Responsible Genetics and drafted the US legislation for the Biological Weapons Convention, known as the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989.

Appearing as a guest on the Alex Jones Show last month, he said: “I have come up with what I conclude to be the smoking gun that the Wuhan coronavirus came out of that level four facility. 

“You’ll note now that Senator Cotton saying the same thing he was behind me at Harvard law school, and despite that, the New York Times slammed him. 

“So yes, I have this scientific study now, I read these over the weekend, which is why I’ve changed my mind.

I have the smoking gun that the Wuhan coronavirus came out of that level four facility

Professor Francis Boyle

“I want to go through this scientific study so that you and the viewing audience understand their implications,  I believe they are the smoking gun of what happened here.

“It was published on antiviral research February 10, 2020, I read this over the weekend, now I’m not going to go through this whole study, but they did a genetic analysis of the Wuhan coronavirus.”

Professor Boyle is referring to a study titled “Coronavirus 2019-nCoV contains a furin-like cleavage site absent in CoV of the same clade,” revealed by Express.co.uk yesterday.

Published on ScienceDirect this month, the paper suggested COVID-19 has been tampered with.

Professor Boyle added: “Let me just conclude, the critical part here where it says: ‘And may provide a gain of function to the 2019 nCoV for efficient spreading in the human population compared to other beta coronaviruses.’

“And the smoking gun here is on page 11, near the bottom, the last full paragraph from the bottom where it says: ‘May provide a gain of function to coronavirus for efficient spreading in the human population.

“‘Gain of function technology is DNA genetic engineering of a dangerous biological warfare substance, but turbocharging and gain of function work can only be done safely in a BSL-4 or a BSL-3 facility.’

“So, I think clearly that the Wuhan coronavirus came out of that BSL-4 facility, this is clearly a weaponised biological warfare agent and there is no legitimate scientific or medical use for gain of function technology.”

But, Professor Boyle may be jumping the gun slightly, as the paper goes on to state further testing is needed before the scientists have concrete proof.

China first alerted the world to COVID-19 on December 31, 2019, but many argued the government was lying about the true seriousness of the outbreak amid inconsistencies on certain details.

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The virus appears to have originated from a Wuhan seafood market where wild animals, including bats and snakes, are traded and consumed.

But, the bats carrying the disease were originally found in the Yunnan or Zhejiang province, more than 550 miles away from the seafood market.

Another paper revealed by Express.co.uk this week identified two research facilities within the proximity of the market conducting research on bat coronavirus.

The first was the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, just 238 metres away, which hosted animals in laboratories for research purposes and the second was seven miles from the seafood market and belonged to Wuhan Institute of Virology.

The paper concluded: “The principal investigator participated in a project which generated a chimeric virus using the SARS-CoV reverse genetics system and reported the potential for human emergence.

“A direct speculation was that SARS-CoV or its derivative might leak from the laboratory. 

“In summary, somebody was entangled with the evolution of 2019-nCoV coronavirus, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.”

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LeBron James says if coronavirus fears lead to empty NBA arenas he’ll refuse to play – The Sun

IF CORONAVIRUS fears in the US lead to empty NBA arenas, basketball’s biggest star says he won’t be on the court.

The league outlined the potential for fan-less contests in a memo to teams — but Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James wouldn’t even consider it.


“We play games without the fans? Nah, that’s impossible,” James told reporters Friday night.

He added: “I ain’t playing if I ain’t got the fans in the crowd, that’s who I play for.”

The NBA memo, as first reported on by The Athletic, outlined the plan “if it were to become necessary to play a game with only essential staff present.”

But James was firm: “So if I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want.”

Concerns of empty sporting arenas come as the deadly coronavirus continues to spread in the US — and fears of catching the virus spreads even faster. 

After two deaths in Florida were reported Friday the US death toll now stands at 17 people, many of whom had pre-existing conditions that were exacerbated by the China-born virus.

"We expect that we will see the numbers will continue to rise," Palm Beach health director Dr. Alina Alonso told the Palm Beach Post.

"That's normal. That should not be alarming people."

There have been 14 coronavirus deaths in Washington state, and the other fatality came in California.

The deaths in Florida come after it was revealed that 21 people on a cruise ship off the California coast tested positive for the deadly virus.

A military helicopter crew had lowered test kits onto Grand Princess by rope Thursday and later retrieved them for analysis as the vessel waited near San Francisco.


There are about 3,500 passengers and crew aboard the Princess Cruises ship, an apparent breeding ground for a deadly cluster of at least 10 cases during a previous voyage.

"We have developed a plan to bring the ship to a non-commercial port," Vice President Mike Pence said.

“All passengers and crew will be tested for the virus. Those that will need to be quarantined will be quarantined.

"Those who will require medical help will receive it.”

A 71-year-old passenger who was on a previous journey of the ship had died from the coronavirus earlier this week.



Health officials had previously found that at least nine other people who were on the same trip to Mexico were also found to be infected.

And some passengers on that trip stayed aboard for the current voyage.

“The ship will not come on shore until we appropriately assess the passengers,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday, one day after declaring a state of emergency in the Golden State.

There have been 15 coronavirus deaths in the US, according to officials.

The California National Guard had delivered the coronavirus test kits by helicopter to the embattled cruise ship on Thursday.

Video from the National Guard shows the copter approaching the ship and lowering three paratroopers into an empty area with a swimming pool.

A passenger from the Mexico voyage says she and her husband became ill later but did not think much of it until the fellow traveler succumbed to the virus.

“They're telling us to stay home, but nobody told me until yesterday to stay home," Judy Cadiz said Thursday.

"We were in Sacramento, we were in Martinez, we were in Oakland. We took a train home from the cruise.

"I really hope that we're negative so nobody got infected.”

 

 

Authorities are searching for the 2,500 passengers who got off the ship.

The Diamond Princess, another Princess cruise ship, was quarantined for two weeks in Japan last month because of the virus, and ultimately about 700 of the 3,700 people aboard became infected.

In addition, the popular South by Southwest festival in Texas, otherwise known as SXSW, has been cancelled due to coronavirus fears.

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