‘City Inspectors’ were observed peeping through pub windows and letterboxes to check that the government’s new coronavirus curfew was being followed.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced further restrictions on public gatherings, ordering the closure of pubs, restaurants, and other hospitality venues by 10 p.m. from Thursday.
“City Inspectors” were seen patrolling the streets of Soho, an entertainment district of Westminster, looking for “illegal speakeasies”, according to one witness.
Strange sight – City Inspectors, working through Soho, looking for illegal speakeasies open after the 10pm cutoff. pic.twitter.com/BpfOhCgUfD
— dan barker (@danbarker) September 24, 2020
London consultant Dan Baker tweeted images of the individuals sporting what appeared to be official City of Westminster ‘City Inspector’ vests, remarking: “Strange sight — City Inspectors, working through Soho, looking for illegal speakeasies open after the 10 p.m. cutoff.”
Mr Baker told Yahoo UK: “I’d guess I saw them looking into a dozen or so places — the area has quite a lot of pubs and bars.
“It took me a moment to process what they were doing at first. I saw them again 15 minutes or so later outside the Hippodrome, which is usually open 24/7.”
Police were also seen patrolling the emptying streets of Soho on Thursday night. The Mirror reported that London Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick had also joined the patrols in Shoreditch, another popular area for nightlife.
Prime Minister Johnson also widened the mandated wearing of masks to include hospitality venues unless you are sitting at a table eating and drinking, and raised the fine to £200 for not wearing one. Mandatory masks remain in place in shops and on public transport.
Farage: Britons Must Fight Against Coronavirus Government ‘Tyranny’ https://t.co/s6Z5TR2GJQ
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 24, 2020
An MP for the conservative Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of Northern Ireland criticised a member of the public for acting like an informant under the “Stasi” for tweeting a picture of him not wearing a mask on the London underground.
Sammy Wilson said that while he should have been wearing a mask, he would rather the person that took his picture and shared it on social media had confronted him.
“I didn’t have a mask on, should have had it on and am offering no excuse but it is sad that we have now become like East Germany under the Stasi where members of the public think it is acceptable to act as snoops,” Mr Wilson said.
“Whoever took the picture didn’t approach me or say anything to me which I suppose would have been the proper way to behave,” the East Antrim MP added.
Mr Wilson is not the first to compare the new corona culture in Britain to the former Communist state. Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage had criticised Home Secretary Priti Patel for saying that she would call the police on her neighbours if she saw them breaking social distancing rules by meeting in groups of larger than six.
“Have we become like East Germany where children were encouraged to report on their parents?” Mr Farage said earlier this month.
It would appear that Britons had heeded the advice of ministers to inform on their neighbours, with reports that the police’s non-emergency number had been flooded with calls over alleged social distancing violations. One woman even called the police on a funeral wake in a pub garden, because she thought people were standing too close together.
Liberty Going Out of Fashion: 69% of Britons Support 9pm Coronavirus Curfew https://t.co/Qa5sWd1u5j
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 16, 2020