Coronavirus denier investigated by police after ‘banning anyone with a muzzle’ from shop


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A ‘coronavirus denier’ has been investigated by police after he put up a sign banning customers from wearing masks inside his shop.

Michael Schneider, 57, who has owned J.Voke Vintage Tearoom in Chichester for five years, claims the pandemic is a ‘hoax’ despite more than 41,000 people dying with the virus in the UK alone.

A sign on the window of his store states that any person wearing a mask – what he refers to as ‘a government muzzle’ – will not be allowed inside. Michael claims people are ‘consenting to Government control’ by following the rules but he admits he will take mask-wearers’ money if they put on a face covering ‘of their own volition’.

Chichester District council say they have been hit with complaints about the sign and have handed the issue over to the police to investigate, while Michael claims council workers have ‘threatened to shut down his shop’ if he does not take it down. Both police and the council said he had not been asked to shut.

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Speaking to, Michael – who sells food, drinks and second-hand items – insisted he will keep his poster up as he ‘fundamentally believes down in my bones that human rights are being taken away’.

He said: ‘What’s happening now, where you can’t get more than six people in one place without having the police on you, that violates Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights…

‘I’ve had the police around, I’ve had the council round twice and they all want me to take my poster down and I’m not going to do it because it’s the truth.’

The shop keeper closed his non-essential store in March when the UK went into lockdown and received a government grant to aid with the loss of business.

He reopened in June and claims public reaction to his sign has been ‘very positive’ – despite researchers confirming face-coverings lower the risk of spreading Covid-19 and the Government making them mandatory in shops, on public transport and in several other indoor spaces.

He said: ‘When someone walks into my shop, I challenge them and say “How are you?” They go “Very well”. I say, “Then why are you wearing a mask? Take it off”. They go “I don’t know”.

‘I do accept people wearing a mask if I challenge them and they say it makes them feel safe. If that’s why they’re doing it, I allow them in my shop and I will serve them.

‘It’s not a complete ban, if it makes you feel better or safer, come in no problem. It’s because they’re doing it of their own volition.’

‘It’s been a very positive reaction. My footfall has trebled since I put the poster in the window. People come in and say “Thank god there’s someone else who believes it’s all nonsense”.’

Vowing to fight authorities to keep his sign up, he added: ’I was happy to open again but everyone is now so scared, they don’t want to shop. They want it all online, they don’t leave their houses. It’s an abomination.

‘More people die on road traffic accidents than they do with Covid-19. What is the justification to bring the whole economy to its knees?’

Hundreds of thousands of families have been left devastated by the pandemic, with more than 924,000 people passing away worldwide and more than 29 million cases discovered.

A top scientist has warned the UK is ‘on the edge of losing control’, as the country sees some of the highest daily rises in four months.

Despite this, more than 10,000 anti-lockdown protesters gathered in London in August to call for an ‘end to Government lies’ and the ‘restoration of all freedoms’.

A Chichester Council spokesperson told ’As a council, we have received some complaints about the face covering signage at J Voke Vintage Tearoom. 

‘We have passed these on to Sussex Police, as the agency responsible for face covering guidance, so that they can investigate this.’

A spokesman from Sussex Police said the proprietor of J.Voke Vintage Tearoom assured a city PCSO he wouldn’t refuse entry to anybody wearing a face mask when the sign came to their attention in July.

He added: ‘He was neither asked nor directed to remove the poster and we are not aware of any complaints from the public.’

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