A TEAROOM owner was reported to the council over a sign allegedly banning customers from wearing face masks inside.

The poster was reportedly put in the window of the J Voke Vintage Tearoom in Chichester by owner Michael Schneider.

It appears to label facemasks, which are a legal requirement to wear in shops and on public transport, as a “government muzzle”, Metro reported.

The sign, shared on social media, appears to claim that anyone wearing a facemask in line with the coronavirus rules will not be allowed entry into the shop.

Meanwhile a sign on the floor apparently states: “Stand here, until you realise your government is brainwashing you.”

Chichester District Council says it has received complaints over the sign, and has passed them on to the police for further in.

The Argus:

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'.”

The poster, reportedly in the tearoom window, describes coronavirus as “con-a-virus”.

Images shared on social media show a sign that claims face masks are not safe to wear.

It states: “You CANNOT shop here if you consent to Government demands.”

The Argus:

The poster lists claims about masks including that they lower a person’s immune system, “reduce oxygen intake”, increase stress levels, and “breathe back in your own carbon dioxide and bacteria that your body is trying to expel”.

In June the wearing of face masks was made mandatory on public transport such as trains and buses in June, unless a person as a good reason or health ground to be excluded.

Then in July the government made it mandatory to wear a face mask in shops, including in takeaways.

It is claimed that Mr Schneider alleges that the British public are 'consenting to Government control' by following Boris Johnson's coronavirus restrictions, including the new “rule of six” which has come into force in England today.

On social media there has been a backlash, with some claiming the alleged posters in the tearoom shop are “spreading misinformation”.

Many have complained to Chichester District Council. The authority 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.”

Sussex Police said: "This first came to our notice in July when a city PCSO, routinely in contact with local shopkeepers and businesses, spoke to the proprietor having seen the notice.

"In conversation he said that he wasn't actually going to refuse entry to anybody wearing a face mask – he told the PCSO that it was just his belief that they shouldn’t be wearing them because he believed that Covid-19 was a fraud and didn’t exist.

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