Car wash worker told to 'ask the PM' why they were handed £1,000 fine for staying open

13 November 2020, 14:05 | Updated: 7 June 2023, 08:56

The police officer said to 'ask the prime minister' why car washes are being closed
The police officer said to 'ask the prime minister' why car washes are being closed. Picture: Twitter

A car washing business in Eastbourne has been told by a police officer to "ask the prime minister" why he was given a fine for staying open during lockdown.

The hand car wash facility, on Seaside Road, was forced to close on Thursday after it was found to still be operating amid COVID-19 restrictions.

An on-the-spot fine of £1,000 was then given to the owners.

But one worker, Ben Saber, who filmed the moment police officers introduced the penalty, disputed the punishment as he pointed out other businesses that had remained open and asked how car cleaning was not deemed essential.

He said: "Can you please state to me why car washing is not essential? We do cars, taxis [...] What's the difference between us being open here and Asda's.

"Asda's car wash is open."

In response, one of the officers says: "You need to go and ask the prime minister with that [...] Don't ask me, this isn't why we're here."

Under the government's latest lockdown measures, only businesses deemed essential are allowed to stay in operation.

This includes petrol stations, car repair shops, bicycle shops and MOT services.

Other vehicle repairs are also allowed to go ahead at these locations.

Car washing facilities, however, are listed in the government's guidelines specifically as retail venues that must cease trading.

"I stated we are essential we sanitiser the inside of cars, clean taxis which still do school runs, clean NHS cars, construction vans all which are still working," Mr Saber said in a later post to Facebook.

"There are car washes open all around the UK and at least one more in Eastbourne so please tell me why it's fair I have to shut and still pay my bills."

Share share share away please As of today the 12th of November 2020 , the police turned up to are car wash 192...

Posted by Ben Saber on Thursday, November 12, 2020

This is not the first time since the lockdown rules came into effect that car washes have been dealt similar penalties.

Another in Cheshire was fined £1,000 for staying open, while one in Essex received a similar fine, with the owner telling reporters he was concerned about the financial impact the restrictions were having on his business.

"I won't be able to survive - I'd have to close and do something else," he said.