A venture capitalist who filmed herself getting up close and personal with friends, using the caption ‘London is open’, has been accused of breaking lockdown rules with ‘total disregard’.
Cassandra Harris shared the video of her and pals drinking outside a cafe in Hyde Park on her Instagram story, appearing to show several people breaking the two metre coronavirus social distancing rule.
When challenged on her actions by a concerned member of the public, the tech-entrepreneur told her: ‘I think it’s up to us how we want to be. Unfortunately if people die, they die.’
While pubs, clubs and cafes are not officially meant to open their doors until July, many have taken advantage of a loophole allowing customers to have their drinks al fresco. But social distancing rules still apply and Britons are still only allowed to meet one person from another household, outdoors, maintaining a two metre distance.
In her clip Ms Harris is seen embracing several pals, with captions including ‘London is Open’ and ‘Covid 19 historic moments watching the sunset in London with friends’. When challenged by a follower for flouting emergency restrictions, she replied: ‘We’ve all had it, I’m not breaking any rules. The park is open and so is the bar. We can chose to do what we want. This is bulls**t, we don’t live in a jail.’
Visit our live blog for the latest updates: Coronavirus news live
The fan, who asked to remain anonymous, said she admired Ms Harris for her business savvy and charity work. But she accused her of being ‘totally selfish and not thinking of anyone else but yourselves.’
The follower added: ‘You have broken the rules with total disregard for anyone else. It’s disgusting! What if someone now takes covid into a care home or to someone with an underlying health issue and they die. You should be ashamed.’
The South African born 2015/16 Great British Entrepreneur finalist responded: ‘Lots of countries in Europe are open. Ours is opening up gradually. The park is open, I’m with friends who have had it already.
‘I think it’s up to us how we want to be. Unfortunately if people die they die. I could have died too.
‘I didn’t cause it (the pandemic) and I’m not sure any of what we are meant to do or not meant to do is going to is going to change people getting sick. If you don’t like my stories then perhaps don’t follow me.’
The follower pointed out that her sister and best friend face having their wedding cancelled because ‘people can’t follow the rules that have been set for us in this country.
She added: ‘We will get back to normal but not yet – it’s not much to ask.’
In a statement sent to Metro.co.uk, Ms Harris said: ‘I went to Hyde Park for my daily escape from lockdown with people I am quarantined with. I saw that the cafe was open, there were people I knew, I figured London was open again.
‘I was so happy, the cafe had been closed for many months prior. Hence the videos and the hugs. Obviously, I was wrong and I’m mortified, but I’ve learned my lesson.
‘I’m not blaming anyone else for this, these are tough times for everybody.’
It comes as experts have warned the Government’s public health message risks being ‘fatally undermined’ by Boris Johnson’s top aide Dominic Cummings, who drove 260 miles to Durham during lockdown and then took a 60 mile round trip to ‘test his eyesight’.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain today, Professor Stephen Reicher said the Prime Minister’s defence of his right hand man could mean that ‘more people are going to die’.
He added: ‘If you look at the research it shows the reason why people observed lockdown was not for themselves, it wasn’t because they were personally at risk, they did it for the community, they did it because of a sense of “we’re all in this together”.
‘If you give the impression there’s one rule for them and one rule for us you fatally undermine that sense of “we’re all in this together” and you undermine adherence to the forms of behaviour which have got us through this crisis.
‘The real issue here is that because of these actions, because of undermining trust in the Government, because of undermining adherence to the rules that we all need to follow, people are going to die. More people are going to die.’
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].
For more stories like this, check our news page.