Coronavirus denier is investigated by police after BANNING customers wearing face masks from entering his shopby Jack Wright For Mailonline
- Shop owner Michael Schneider, 57, is being investigated for banning face masks
- He placed a sign on his Chichester tearoom window denying mask-wearers entry
- Council authorities are allegedly threatened to have his shop closed down
- Mr Schneider alleges that people are 'consenting to Government' control
A so-called coronavirus 'denier' who believes the pandemic which has led to the deaths of 45,000 people in the UK is a hoax has been investigated by police after he put up a sign banning customers from wearing face masks inside his shop.
Michael Schneider, 57, placed a sign on the window of his J.Voke Vintage Tearoom in Chichester which states that any person wearing a mask - what he calls a 'government muzzle' - will be banned entry.
The tearoom owner has also admitted that he will penalise mask-wearers by charging them if they put on a face mask 'of their own volition'.
A red doormat with white footprints also instructs customers to 'stand here until you realise your Government is brainwashing you (You May Be Here Sometime)'.
Mr Schneider alleges that the British public are 'consenting to Government control' by following Boris Johnson's coronavirus restrictions, including the new draconian Rule of Six which has come into force in England today.
Police are now investigating shopkeeper Mr Schneider after Chichester District Council was inundated with complaints about his sign.
Mr Schneider claims council officers has 'threatened to shut down his shop' if he does not take the sign down - though the Council denies making such threats.
It comes as Britain turns into a nation of narks after ministers instructed people to inform on neighbours suspected of flouting new anti-Covid rules to police.
The shopkeeper, who sells food, drinks and second-hand items - is now determined to keep his sign up as he 'fundamentally believes down in my bones that human rights are being taken away' by the Government.
Speaking to Metro, Mr Schneider 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.'
Mr Schneider closed J.Voke Vintage Tearoom in March when the UK went into lockdown and was a recipient of Government bailout money. He reopened in June and has claimed that public reaction to his sign has been 'very positive'.
'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',' he added.
'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'.'
A Chichester Council spokesperson said: '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.'
Mr Scheider's sign - entitled 'Con-A-Virus Notice Government Muzzles!' - states that people cannot shop at the tearoom if they 'consent to Government demands'.
It then sarcastically lists the demands - 'suppressing your immune system', 'reducing your oxygen intake', 'raising your cortisol level (stress hormone)', 'breathing back in your own carbon dioxide and bacteria (that your body is trying to expel)'.
'Turn off your Television and engage your brain before you spend the rest of your lives living on your knees... OWNED BY THE STATE!' the sign screams.
'The reason you're being ordered to stand two metres apart and wear a muzzle is nothing to do with a virus... it's Applied Behavioural Psychology to "CONTROL YOU"'.
However, Mr Scheider's policy appears to be proving unpopular with unhappy locals who accuse the shopkeeper of spreading 'misinformation'.
Customers posting Google reviews rounded on Mr Schneider, with one saying: 'Should be ashamed of yourselves spreading misinformation and causing a threat to your locals!' Another simply said: 'Enjoy your bankruptcy. Wear a mask.'
One customer posted: 'Disinformation advising people not to be "muzzled"'.
A fourth commented: 'I see even their mindset is geared towards the olden times even when it comes down to safety'.
Mr Schneider has vowed to fight authorities to keep up his sign, saying: '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.
Business owners voice anger at 'Rule of Six'
Business owners and their customers also voiced anger, but vowed that they would stick to the rules because they did not want to face hefty fines.
Grish Gregorian, 61 owner of Café Florentine in Ealing, West London told MailOnline: 'It just doesn't make sense to me. I had some customers coming in this morning who were going off to work in offices where there are up to 50 people. So, what's the problem if a large group came to my café for food?
'The rule is going to cause more problems for businesses like mine who are already struggling. I mainly get larger bookings for the weekend, but I have already had to refuse a few for this weekend because I'm not prepared to break the law, as daft as it is.'
Mr Gregorian admitted that he had a get together with up to 20 friends and family in the pub on Sunday prior to the new restrictions coming in.
He said: 'We don't know when we'll be seeing each other again so thought we'd have a bit of a party while it was still legal. I've made it clear to all my customers that they're all welcome as long as there are no more than six of them in a group.'
Frederick Scandello, 31 owner of the Coat of Miracles coffee shop in Ealing, West London said: 'This is bad news for the hospitality industry which is already suffering a lot. I don't allow more than one customer in at a time and everybody has to sit outside my café.
'If there are more than six together, I will make it clear that I can't serve them. To be honest, my café is quite small but it's the bigger places that will really suffer. The rule doesn't make sense to me because you can get on a bus or go to work and be surrounded by more than six people. But I sense that the Government are going to enforce it strictly and I'm not going to make sure that I don't break the rules.'
'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?'
It comes as ministers were ridiculed over the new 'Rule of Six' today after it emerged that 'mingling' has been outlawed - while Downing Street fueled confusion by saying people should not be fined the first time they flout the curbs.
MPs joked that 'ambling' should be banned next as Britons struggled to get to grips with the latest edict, imposed by the government amid a 'surge' in Covid cases.
Photos from across the country suggested that the public has yet to comprehend the new system, despite policing minister Kit Malthouse saying they should snitch on neighbours who flouted the rules.
Home Secretary Priti Patel also warned that people face criminal records as well as thousands of pounds in fines if they refuse to abide by the law.
But the PM's spokesman insisted the police would not be imposing the hefty penalties on individuals unless they persistenly refused to comply.
Meanwhile, the Government's response to the spike in infections has been slammed by top scientists as panicky and not based on evidence, with jibes that those in charge are a 'Dad's Army' with no experience.
Underlining the deep splits in views, other experts delivered chilling warnings that the outbreak is on the verge of spiralling out of control, after the daily case rate topped 3,000 for the first time in months.
Boris Johnson sent shockwaves through nation last week when he announced the restrictions, the first widespread tightening of lockdown since March. The rules are now in force in England after a sunny weekend when many people enjoyed a final meet up before the misery descended.
Gatherings of more than six people have been made illegal in a bid to stem a surge in coronavirus cases. It has sparked fury that many larger households can no longer meet up with anyone else.
However, the rules in England are tougher than in Wales and Scotland, where under-12s are being exempted from the crackdown.
Britons are now waiting with bated breath to see whether the action can bring infections back down. France and Spain in particular have seen huge rises, but Belgium - which imposed similar restrictions - appears to have the situation more under control.
There are fears that failure will mean worse curbs in the run-up to Christmas, with a 10pm curfew for pubs being considered as young people are blamed for the 'spike'.