Robin Hood feeling in Basel: trade association faces the New Year with optimism
The regional industry representatives have reached the middle of their New-Year reception marathon. But despite all insecurities, local businesses regard this year in a positive light.
These are harsh days for “Tout Bâle” (all of Basel), and even harsher for “economic” Basel: The government had its welcoming reception just after New Year’s Eve. Two days ago, the UBS at Bankverein hosted the New Year’s reception of the Basel Chamber of Commerce. Yesterday, the trade associations of Basel-Stadt had their turn, and today, the Chamber of Commerce of Basel-Landschaft is meeting in the Pantheon Muttenz.
However, there are parallels: A witty speech by UBS regional manager Samuel Holzach two days ago, followed by equally witty words by Guy Chappelle (CEO of the Cantonal Bank of Basel) at Basel Theatre yesterday. His prophecies did not come true, he told an audience of around a thousand guests. Mr Chappelle also addressed the shopping habits of the public.
One needs to take care of Basel’s inner city and not simply “amazon” or “zalando” things, otherwise all the shops will soon be merely windows, he warned. Last year, the tramline number 8 became synonymous with shopping tourism. But the businesses do what they do best: “Chrampfe und kämpfe” (work hard and fight).
Marcel Schweizer, president of the trade association of Basel-Stadt, was happy to welcome business representatives and did not see anything wrong with repeating things, since “that’s the way nature is”.
He quoted Hermann Hesse, who saw “a magic” in the annual repetition of seasons. As every year, the jab towards the left was not missing either: “The luxury bicycle roundabout is unnecessary.” The trade association had hoped for a different election outcome in Basel, but now teamwork is key to success.
Everywhere in Switzerland, the hatchet between liberal and left politics has been dug up due to the corporate tax reform III vote. Only Basel remains peaceful. Here, practically all factions are in agreement. Only councillor Claude Janiak from Baselland stepped out of line and criticises “liberal” changes in the tax package.
The director of Basel’s trade association, Gabriel Barell, also saw things positively. He spoke of support for start-ups and is looking forward to the new Business Parc at Neudorfstrasse, which is well connected to public transport.
Mr Barell used the ballet “Robin Hood” as a metaphor to show that the nobility has by now learned that pioneers are needed – just like the rogue from Sherwood Forest – to enact change. With this metaphor, the trade association director came back full circle to the Start-up businesses, which also cause and create pioneering work.
Short and sweet: Even though all business representatives are sure that the Swiss franc will remain strong and that the designated US-president Donald Trump is “the only certain uncertainty factor”, the mood among Basel’s businesses is predominantly positive these days. According to the Basel’s economic celebrities, 2017 will be a good year.
The Basel Theatre closed the official part of the New Year’s reception with a spontaneous choreography by Richard Wherlock. The ballet director apologised for the improvisation, however, as an excerpt from the “Robin Hood” ballet could not be performed because of personnel problems.
Fire in Sissach: elderly resident rescued by neighbour
An elderly resident was rescued by a neighbour after a fire broke out in his Sissach home on Wednesday morning.
The 84-year-old called for help after noticing the fire in the kitchen of the family home in Kulmacherweg at around 7.30am
A neighbour heard the man's cries for help and was able to break down the door to rescue the man. The elderly man was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.
Fire fighters from Sissach arrived quickly on scene and were able to extinguish the fire within a short time. Due to the thick smoke, there was severe damage throughout the house. It is currently uninhabitable.
The cause of the fire is still not entirely clear. The most likely source is a technical problem in the kitchen, where the fire started.
Federal Office increases warning level: Flu epidemic has arrived in Basel
Basel was spared the national flu epidemic at first, but now the influenza is hitting with full force. The Federal Office for Health increased the warning level for our region on Wednesday, and the University Hospital has received a massive increase in flu cases since Christmas. This year’s outbreak is severe – and in fact far too early.
Flu patients have been coming and going from Basel’s University Hospital since Christmas. Protective masks are lying ready in the entrance hall and visitors have been asked to use them. The hospital has advised that small children should remain outside. “It’s a heavy flu epidemic with far more cases than last year,” hospital spokesperson Sabina Heuss said on request by barfi.ch. The epidemic is also happening four to six weeks earlier than usual here. Last week, the Uni Hospital dealt with 93 confirmed influenza cases.
On Wednesday, the Federal Office for Health (BAG) updated its status report for the seasonal flu. The Swiss map is now red, with influenza reported across the entire country and the number of cases in the Northwest is on the rise. The BAG bases its data on “Sentinella”, a program that keeps track of flu cases around the clock.
Incidence per 100,000 inhabitants and spread according to Sentinella regions for the week 52/2016 (Screenshot Federal Office for Health)
At first, Basel and North-western Switzerland remained resilient against an outbreak of the virus. The BAG merely assigned the status “spread” to our region in its last report, one level below the current one, “widely spread”. Since this week, however, the city at the Rhine area has also fallen victim to the seasonal epidemic.