LAST week Woolworths "strongly encouraged" its shoppers in NSW to wear face coverings. The federal Department of Health has advised people in NSW that they should wear face masks, in circumstances where they cannot practice social distancing.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian is urging people to wear face masks on public transport and in supermarkets. Her plea followed Premier Daniel Andrews' announcement on Sunday regarding tough new lockdown restrictions in Victoria to further curb his state's escalating COVID-19 cases.
It's in the context of these public health announcements about people wearing face coverings in public, that I share my friend's experience when he recently wore a mask in a Coles supermarket.
Paul had been well ahead of the curve in deciding to wear a home-made mask while shopping. It was early in the pandemic and few people were choosing to wear a mask, probably because at the time the public messaging from federal and state governments was otherwise.
Paul was selecting a carton of milk from the refrigerator at Coles. He looked up to see a toddler in a shopping trolley who was clapping his hands and physically bouncing with much excitement to gain his mum's attention.
The toddler joyfully said "Alroy, alroy, alroy," as he pointed to Paul, who was bemused but enjoying the interaction. Mum smiled at Paul, laughed and then turned to her son. "No, that man's not a cowboy," she said. Perception is everything, irrespective of one's age. Mask up, NSW. Let's do this.
Dr Michael Walton, Lambton
Contrarians have their limits too
PERHAPS the people proclaiming freedom from masks being an essential part of their life should think for a moment. If they were lying on an operating table would they be happy that the surgeon, anesthetist and nurses could decide whether a mask suited them or not, or if indeed they should wash their hands before the start?
It seems to me that so many of us rely on playing a role, for whatever reasons, that we lose sight of the reality here. People that flagrantly buck the rules really need to think of their impact. I agree that they are not animals, but they should also act like they have a conscience.
The dilemma for the government is that they will potentially drive things underground due to draconian measures. I think this is clearly a factor, but when this all started from one person and now we have 25 per cent of confirmed cases in Victoria apparently walking the streets I think that the message has already been sent. Let us hope someone receives it.
Vic Davies, Tighes Hill
Get tougher to show it's not fine
WHEN are all governments going to act with the general populous as a priority and introduce a national emergency declaration and, above all, increase fines and penalties that will stop this disregard for the law? Try $20,000 for the first breach and two years and $20,000 thereafter.
It is obvious that no matter what there are those that consider themselves above the law, totally immune to this virus and go about thumbing their nose at any and all authority.
We elect governments to protect and serve our best interests, so we should expect and demand that these people who will not comply with the law be punished accordingly. In the end it is our lives that are endangered. Martial law might seem to be extreme, but this may be the only solution.
We see every night on the news this total disregard for the need to isolate and comply with the restrictions that have been introduced, so it is far past time that we consider this harsh but necessary step to curb these non-compliers and safeguard those who are doing the right thing.
These grubs do not understand that kindness is not weakness, so I believe now is the time to give police absolute power to stop this stupidity.
Dennis Crampton, Swansea
Climate change lacking in debate
MY apologies to Stephen Galilee for suggesting that the NSW Minerals Council played any part in influencing the state government on this coal mining strategy through political donations. As would be expected from someone in your role, you supported the new policy direction and spoke in its favour, even though you did not specifically mention Wollombi.
But Wollombi is certainly mentioned in the government report Strategic Statement on Coal Exploration and Mining in NSW released in June 2020. It is highlighted and sits clearly on the official map in this same report. From June 24 to July 22 there have been numerous articles in NSW media highlighting the concerns, specifically about Wollombi ('Wollombi in new coal exploration strategy', Herald 25/6).
Barilaro's strategic statement: "...promised at last year's State election to make NSW the number one destination for mining investment". Cessnock's mayor found it "extremely concerning that Wollombi Valley has been identified in the release. The unique heritage and national significance must be protected". Wollombi Progress Association's president described the valley's heritage and forests as "environmentally and culturally sensitive".
Only local residents are even addressing the biodiversity of the area, the unique landscape, the flora and fauna but rarely a mention by anyone on the implications of continued impact of coal mining on human induced climate change. This issue alone should be front and centre in any talk about future directions in coal mining.
This is not just an ideological issue any more. It is scientifically based. We are already living the consequences of inaction on this issue.
Margarete Ritchie, Brandy Hill
A mean feat, but it's no hat trick
ON Thursday night I saw Alex Johnson score three fantastic tries for the Rabbitohs against the Dragons. The commentators took great delight in calling the effort a hat trick. It seems that rugby league commentators do not understand the meaning of a hat trick, or perhaps they believe they have the right to redefine terminology.
To the best of my knowledge, hat trick is a cricket term accredited to a bowler who takes three wickets off consecutive deliveries. Yes, consecutive deliveries.
What the league commentators are calling 'hat tricks' are often not, because of that important word: consecutive. Please do not devalue a 'hat trick' by calling three tries that are not consecutive.
Stan Keifer, Arakoon
Collaboration deserves praise
REGARDING Costco's arrival ('Boomaroo', Herald 1/8): this is what you get when you have a Labor council, a Lib state government and most importantly an Independent state member working together. Bloody awesome result. Thank you all.
Dave McTaggart, Edgeworth
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WHEN will Novocastrians stop calling the redevelopment in Hunter Street Mall by the ridiculous and ignorant name East End? It's obviously the invention of some spin doctors for the developer, Iris. Now the City of Newcastle and even the Newcastle Herald are using it. The East End is a residential suburb also known as Newcastle East, east of Watt Street, and has had that name for well over a century.
Keith Parsons, Newcastle
TODAY a small wallet with very important cards in it dropped out of my pocket when I answered my phone while waiting for a bus. I realised this when I was on the bus and phoned my husband. He telephoned the nearby shopping centre and my wallet had been handed in by a school girl. I am so grateful for such honesty. Unfortunately I don't have the girl's name. If you read this, please accept my gratitude and if you are an example of the future adults of our community we are going to be in good hands.
Christine Kable, Caves Beach
TO create more jobs, dare I say it, in these unprecedented times, why doesn't the government reduce the retirement age to 65? Apart from more jobs it would release more money via superannuation to the economy.
Bill Slicer, Tighes Hill
ALLEN Small (Letters, 1/8), the renewables industries are one of the biggest growing sectors in business. It is actually one of the only industries that you can walk out of university straight into a high-paying profession. This is a fact supported by evidence; it is not just a random opinion. There is far more growth in renewables than the dying fossil fuel industry. Renewables are the future; there is no denial among investors.
Dan Kirkpatrick, Karuah
SO Sonny Bill Williams wants to return to the NRL and play with the Roosters. The NRL should tell SBW he has to play with the Warriors. He's a loyal Kiwi, why wouldn't he want to boost the Warriors team? They need players badly. If it wasn't for the Warriors there wouldn't be a NRL competition in 2020
Dave Wilson, Bar Beach
HERE'S a tip: close the country for four weeks; no border crossings; limited state movements, exceptions being food, medical and definitely no overseas travellers. The economy can wait; our health is most important now. The confusion of state rules will never see an end to this. One simple Australian plan. We are all in this together.
Paul Jensen, Newcastle
THE Irish Messi settles for English League Two ('Wes jets in for Cambridge', Herald 30/7). Puts the A-League into perspective. Local juniors playing for the Jets anyone?
Rocco De Grandis, Cameron Park
IN these Trumpled times a friend on Facebook, Mr John Newtown, wrote the first law of e-motion: "Facts are merely annoying impediments to opinions". In my opinion, that's definitely a fact.
Niko Leka, Mayfield
SHOULD face masks be mandatory?