Several Wanstead shops and cafes have been fined by Redbridge Council for making socially distanced space for customers on the pavements outside their shops.
They include the much-loved Wanstead Hairdressers on Woodbine Place – a shop which has been trading in this location for decades without problems.
When barbers were allowed to reopen after lockdown, everyone needed haircuts. Owner Paul Michaelides installed Perspex barriers separating the seats inside where customers wait in turn, and he also put some well-spaced chairs directly outside his shop where more people could wait safely. It all seemed pretty sensible.
However, Redbridge inspectors took photographs of the seats and issued £100 fines for the infringement. Other shops on the High Street which had reacted to the new need for social distancing faced similar actions.
Paul said: “Everyone needed a haircut after the lockdown, and we wanted people to be able to queue safely – we were doing the responsible thing when everyone is trying to keep their distance from each other. We have quite a few elderly customers and didn’t want to make them stand outside waiting.
“To get a fine without even being warned by the officer that we were doing something wrong was particularly annoying.”
Paul has appealed against the fine.