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Businesses including a beauty salon near Liverpool are vowing to remain open and defy England’s lockdown when it comes into force on Thursday.
Companies face a £10,000 fine if they refuse to comply with restrictions ordering the closure of pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, gyms and all non-essential retailers.
Regulations setting out the new laws in England are due to be published on Tuesday before being put to a vote by MPs on Wednesday. If passed, as expected, the measures would come into effect at 12.01am on Thursday. While the vast majority of businesses are expected to comply with the rules, a small number have publicly vowed to flout them.
The beauty salon in Bootle, Merseyside, whose owners have denied the existence of coronavirus, said it would open as usual on Thursday and fight any fine through the courts. A message on the Instagram page of Skin Kerr said: “We will not be locking down again. We will remain open. We will fight this and any fines in a common law court.”
The owner of the salon previously described the pandemic as a “bullshit voodoo virus” and displayed posters saying: “You can’t catch what doesn’t exist,” as well as banning masks and “Covid talk”.
The salon did not respond to a request to comment. It posted a clip on Instagram on Sunday of the conspiracy theorist David Icke calling Covid-19 “a scam” and urging businesses to “simply refuse to lock down”.
A martial arts gym in Wigan has also vowed to stay open. In a Facebook post, the Majestic Gym claimed it was “cleaner and safer than any supermarket, fast food outlet or anywhere else that is allowed to stay open” and called on other businesses to “refuse to obey the tyranny”.
Kevin Harper, the gym’s owner, said his facility was “cleaner than an operating theatre” and that gyms were “as important as churches, hospitals, pubs and restaurants” so should be allowed to stay open.
He said he would fight any fine and “clog the legal system”. “I’ve not broken any laws. I have not injured anybody. I have not hurt anybody. That will be my legal argument. And on Thursday morning when I open up at 9.30 the police will be here, I guarantee, and I welcome them. These are not criminal matters. It’s preposterous.”
Harper, who has run the gym for 12 years, falsely claimed that there was “no categorical scientific proof that coronavirus even exists” but that he had a rigorous safety process in place, including temperature checks on arrival, strict social distancing and a “50-page risk assessment”.
He added: “When we did that first lockdown, I nearly went bankrupt. I can’t afford to do that again. I’m not being selfish, I’m being realistic. I’ll switch salaries with the prime minister, if he wants to take my £750 a month that I’m currently getting. I’m not going to be able to survive. I’ve got children. My wife’s pregnant. I’ve no choice but to stay open.”
Police chiefs are bracing themselves for potentially worse compliance among a weary public than during the first lockdown. Officers across the UK were called out to rule-breaking raves and house parties over the Halloween weekend.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Handful of businesses threaten to defy lockdown in England | World news