Landlord Fined £4,000 For Covid-19 Breaches Slams 'Ridiculous' £50 Boris Johnson Fine
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Chris Hopkins received a hefty fine dealt in four fixed penalty notices when police raided his pub – The Wayfarer Inn in North Devon – on December 18 2020.
Coincidentally, that’s the exact same date that a party is alleged to have taken place in Downing Street.
At the time, Devon was under the Tier 2 restrictions – remember those? – meaning that people could only meet family and friends indoors if they were living together or were part of a support bubble.
When the police burst into the pub in the picturesque village of Instow, they found that the rules weren’t being followed, staff weren’t checking whether families were in support bubbles, and several different groups were sitting together.
At the time, Hopkins said he was organising a Christmas party for staff that worked for a gas engineering company that he also runs.
He claimed that he was trying to reward his hard-working staff and thought that it was allowed because they’d all been working together throughout the pandemic.
He told The Independent: “I didn’t realise they were not allowed to socialise together because we were in the work bubble. We ticked all the boxes for bubbles.
“We were playing by the rules to the effect that it was table service, everyone was remaining seated – there was no running around like lunatics.”
Now, the Conservative voter wants Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to resign after they – along with Johnson’s wife Carrie and 40-odd other people – were fined for attending a birthday party on June 19 2020.
Johnson and Sunak had previously said in Parliament that they didn’t attend the party and followed the rules.
Hopkins continued: “It is absolutely ridiculous in comparison to the fines we have had. It is one rule for one and one rule for another.
“They tell the whole country you can’t do that, and you can’t do this and they do their own thing.
“They have had no thought for anyone else in the country.
“For them to walk away with £50 is ridiculous, really.
“We did breach the rules unknowingly. We just had 12 people but some of their parties had 20. Their fine should be much higher.
“He has totally broken the rules and he said he hadn’t. He made them up with his advisers.
“It just blows my mind.
“The Government were not willing to make things public but the local council put out a story about the pub which named us on their website – we were named and shamed within 48 hours.
“It is only public because Boris Johnson said if he got fined he would make it public straight away.”
The Wayfarer Inn offered free meals to NHS and care staff during the Covid-19 lockdowns, as well as providing free school meals and giving up rooms at no charge for those self-isolating.
The investigation into the breaches of lockdown rules at Downing Street and Whitehall continues.
The Metropolitan Police are investigating 12 potential gatherings, meaning the Prime Minister and Sunak could be fined again if found to have participated.