Handful of businesses threaten to defy lockdown in England | World news

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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.

New national restrictions are due to come into effect in England on Thursday, after MPs vote on them, and remain in place at least until 2 December.

What can I leave home for?

  • For childcare or education, where it is not provided online.
  • To go to work unless it can be done from home.
  • Outdoor exercise either with household members or with one person from another household.
  • For all medical reasons and appointments.
  • To escape injury or harm, such as domestic abuse.
  • To provide care for vulnerable people or volunteer.
  • To shop for food and essentials.
  • To see people in your support bubble.
  • Children will still be able to move between homes if their parents are separated.

Government say the list is not exhaustive, and other permitted reasons for leaving home may be set out later. People could face fines from police for leaving their home without a legally permitted excuse.

Can different households mix indoors?

No, not unless they are part of an “exclusive” support bubble, which allows a single-person household to meet and socialise with another household.

Parents are allowed to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.

Can different households mix outdoors?

People are allowed to meet one person from another household socially and for exercise in outdoor public spaces, which does not include private gardens.

Can I attend funerals, weddings or religious services?

Up to 30 people will still be allowed to attend funerals, while stone settings and ash scatterings can continue with up to 15 guests.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are not permitted except in “exceptional circumstances”. Places of worship must remain closed except for voluntary services, individual prayer and other exempt activities.

Can I travel in the UK or abroad for a holiday?

Most outbound international travel will be banned. There is no exemption for staying away from home for a holiday. This means people cannot travel internationally or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions.

Which businesses will close?

Everything except essential shops and education settings, which include nurseries, schools and universities, will close.

Entertainment venues will also have to close. Pubs, restaurants and indoor and outdoor leisure facilities will have to close their doors once more.

However, takeaway and delivery services will still be allowed, while construction and manufacturing will stay open.

Parents will still be able to access registered childcare and other childcare activities where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work. Some youth services may be able to continue, such as one-to-one youth work, but most youth clubs will need to close their doors.

Public services, such as jobcentres, courts, and civil registration offices will remain open.

There is no exemption for grassroots organised team sports. Elite sports will be allowed to continue behind closed doors as currently, including Premier League football matches.

Aaron Walawalkar

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”.

Tier one – medium

  • The “rule of six” applies, meaning socialising in groups larger than six people is prohibited whether indoors or outdoors.
  • Tradespeople can continue to go into a household for work and are not counted as being part of the six-person limit.
  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate but pubs and restaurants must ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and close between 10pm and 5am.
  • Takeaway food can continue to be sold after 10pm if ordered by phone or online.
  • Schools and universities remain open.
  • Places of worship remain open but people must not mingle in a group of more than six.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of people who can attend (15 and 30 respectively).
  • Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, and – if the rule of six is followed – indoors.

Tier two – high

  • People are prohibited from socialising with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting.
  • Tradespeople can continue to go into a household for work.
  • The rule of six continues to apply for socialising outdoors, for instance in a garden or public space like a park or beach.
  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate but pubs and restaurants must ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and close between 10pm and 5am.
  • Takeaway food can continue to be sold after 10pm if ordered online or by phone.
  • Schools and universities remain open.
  • Places of worship remain open but people must not mingle in a group of more than six.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of people who can attend (15 and 30 respectively).
  • Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors but will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with those they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport.
  • Travel is permitted to amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but people are advised to reduce the number of journeys where possible.

Tier three – very high

  • People are prohibited from socialising with anybody they do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting, private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events.
  • Tradespeople can continue to go into a household for work.
  • The rule of six continues to apply to outdoor public spaces, such as parks, beaches, public gardens or sports venues.
  • Pubs and bars are only permitted to remain open to operate as restaurants, in which case alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal.
  • Schools and universities remain open.
  • Places of worship remain open but household mixing is not permitted.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of people attending (15 and 30 respectively) but wedding receptions are not allowed.
  • The rules for exercise classes and organised sport are the same as in tier 2. They can continue to take place outdoors but will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport. However, in Merseyside, gyms were ordered to close when it entered tier 3.
  • Travelling outside a very high alert level area or entering a very high alert level area should be avoided other than for things such as work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if travelling through as part of a longer journey.
  • Residents of a tier 3 area should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, while people who live in a tier 1 or tier 2 area should avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area.

Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

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.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Handful of businesses threaten to defy lockdown in England | World news

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