A number of businesses are defying lockdown and vowing to remain open across the UK as they face fines for breaching the restrictions.
All non-essential businesses were told to shut up shop from Thursday under restrictions imposed in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
Any businesses flouting the ban are liable to be fined up to £10,000 or shut down by the local council.
But several have flouted the rules, including a gym in Bury, a tattoo parlour near Bristol and a hairdressing salon in Gloucester.
All are deemed ‘non-essential’ retail as they are not considered vital to the public during the shutdown, which is set to end on December 2.
Jayne Deakin, 50, hs kept her business Fitness for Life studio in Bury, near Manchester, open and does not plan to close, despite a personal warning from the Manchester police chief
Gyms are one of the businesses deemed non-essential by the government under lockdown restrictions and were told to close from Thursday onwards
The owner of Roger and Co Hair and Beauty salon has been fined £1,000 for continuing to trade as normal on the first day of the lockdown.
They posted on Facebook in advance of the nationwide shutdown that they would be opening for business despite the rules requiring all hairdressers to close.
But the owner of Fitness for Life studio in Bury, near Manchester, has insisted she will pay any fines she is issued and still remain open.
Jayne Deakin, 50, insisted she should stay open as she claims fitness helps the mental health of her customers, as well as keeping them fit.
Jayne Deakin, 50, the owner of Fitness for Life studio in Bury, near Manchester, says she has not taken the decision to remain open lightly as she has a daughter with Down’s syndrome
She defied the coronavirus lockdown by opening her studio for two classes on Friday morning.
Ms Deakin continued with her classes despite recieving a personal warning from Greater Manchester Police Chief Ian Hopkins, who warned she would ‘absolutely’ be shut down by the end of the day.
‘I’ve got to stand up for what I believe in,’ she said. ‘I know the police will come. Even if the police fine me I will keep going as long as I can.’
She added: ‘I can’t keep taking fines forever but I have to stand my ground. Believe me, I’m not doing this lightly, I have an at-risk daughter who has Down’s Syndrome. I know the risk but I have members who struggle with anxiety and depression – this is a huge mental health issue.’
The business owner said she had spoken to the owners of several other gyms in Yorkshire which also refused to close down. She told how they had already been visited by police and told to close.
Jayne is not the only gym owner who planned to keep her business running through the lockdown.
In a statement on Facebook, the management behind the Majestic martial arts gym in Leopold Street, Wigan, previously told members it would stay open.
Kevin Harper, director of Majestic Martial Arts gym in Pemberton, said he was ‘standing up for what he believes is right’ after being asked by members to remain open.
But businesses that have remained open have faced a backlash from members of the public who say they are putting public health at risk.
Aron Walton, who owns Holey Skin tattoo parlour in Bishopston, near Bristol, opened his business as usual on Friday. He had announced his intentions in a Facebook video in which he encouraged ‘every business’ to ignore the restrictions
Aron Walton, the owner of Gloucester Road tattoo parlour Holey Skin in Bishopston, near Bristol, announced in a video on the shop’s Facebook page: ‘We will not be locking up our studio, not at all.
‘I’m gonna open the studio as normal, work as normal, tattoo my client as normal.
‘I will not be consenting to anything to do with these guidelines whatsoever.’
He also encouraged ‘every business’ to ignore the restrictions in the clip, posted online on Sunday.
In recent days, Holey Skin has also shared a series of unfounded conspiracy theories on social media, including a video titled ‘Covid doesn’t exist’ and another advocating the Magna Carta as a defence to lockdown.
His statements were met with derision.
Laura, a 41-year-old carer from Whitchurch, said: ‘Why can’t people just think of others for a change? I’m fed up of the selfish, irresponsible people who do videos like this.
‘It may be a tough few weeks but if we all do our bit then hopefully we will be able to have a good Christmas.
‘These people who ignore lockdown or encourage businesses to stay open are just going to make lockdown drag on longer.’
Marie, a 24-year-old shipping administrator from north-east Bristol, also hit out at Mr Walton’s comments.
She said: ‘Whilst it is sad that businesses have to close again, and the financial impact on small businesses is clear, choosing to remain open and put people in danger is selfish and irresponsible.
‘It’s concerning to see such a disregard for the wellbeing of the community from a previously respected business.
‘This type of attitude downplays and mocks all of the individuals who have been affected by the virus and those who have unfortunately known someone who has passed away due to Covid-19 and either couldn’t attend their funeral or be with them during their last moments.
Kevin Harper, director of Majestic Martial Arts gym in Pemberton, said on Facebook he was ‘standing up for what he believes is right’ after being asked by members to remain open
The owners of Roger and Co Hair and Beauty salon in Gloucestershire were also fined after flouting lockdown rules and opening their hairdressing salon in defiance of the ban
‘Tattooing, or any other non-essential business practice, should not be more important than the safety of the community.’
Avon and Somerset Police and Bristol City Council confirmed they are looking into Mr Walton’s business and deciding what action to take after it was seen open on Friday with at least five people visible inside around 11.30. Some were not wearing masks.
The law says non-essential businesses like tattoo studios must close and households are banned from mixing indoors.
A council spokesman said: ‘We are investigating reports related to this business remaining open despite the new lockdown measures starting and are working with the police to establish the situation and if necessary take action to ensure that these guidelines are being adhered to.’
Police also confirmed they had fined Roger and Co Hair and Beauty salon.
A Gloucestershire Police spokesman said yesterday: ‘We received a number of reports that a business in Gloucester, which was not exempt from lockdown rules, was informing customers it would remain open.
‘We visited the premises earlier in the week and spoke to the owner, offering advice and informing them that they would be fined if they opened following the start of lockdown.
‘Following a further report that the premises was open today (Nov 5), we visited the premises again and the owner was handed an immediate fine of £1,000.’
Chief Inspector Richard Pitman added ‘Our aim is to keep people safe. We will follow up any reports we receive of people breaking the current lockdown rules, and enforce where necessary.’