The Isle of Wight Council has been accused of being dictatorial, letting a little power go to their heads and possible discrimination against Zombies by the owner of an alternative hotel.
Dino Joakim, owner of the Nightingale Hotel in Shanklin, made the claims after receiving a letter from the Isle of Wight Council’s Environmental Health Services, threatening him with enforcement action and massive fines if he fails to remove a sign outside his hotel and social media posts on a Facebook account after ‘concerns’ raised by two members of the public.
The letter declares that the sign, which shows a masked face with a red line through it, and a Facebook post that says ‘Anti-mask and Anti-vax passports – No Zombies’, must be removed. The letter says the council has no information as to whether Dino is preventing people from wearing face coverings, which it describes as an offence. However, it goes on to claim that the sign and social media post ‘in this Authority’s opinion, seeks to prevent persons from wearing face coverings’. The letter, dated Wednesday (March 17), gives notice that the sign must be removed by midday the following day, with a visit the same afternoon to check it has been done, with warnings of further enforcement action and fines of up to £20,000, if it has not. The letter lists five different pieces of legislation.
Dino said: “The council knows perfectly well that my hotel is closed due to coronavirus. There are no licensable activities going on – it is effectively a private residence until we open again. A little power has gone to their heads.
“They say they are acting because two un-named people complained, but they clearly couldn’t wait to spring into action. The letter gives me 24 hours to do as they say, with a visit the same afternoon to make sure I’ve carried out their instructions. If this were China, they’d be in line for medals from the Communist Party.
“We market the Nightingale Hotel as a gothic, alternative, anti-establishment venue. It is the way I reach out to my customers. The council may not like my opinions and they may not be mainstream, but they are shared by many people and anyway the last time I checked opinions were not illegal. What’s happened to my right to free speech?
“One of the most concerning things to me is the possible discrimination against Zombies. The brain dead have rights too. I’m very surprised the IW Council haven’t acknowledged that.”
In 2019 the hotel was selected by Tory Lord Pickles and Labour Lord Blunkett as an example of a successful niche business and Dino and his wife and business partner, Arina, were invited to a gala dinner in London for the Parliamentary Review, which seeks to raise standards by sharing experiences and best practise.