Tequila bar registers to become a church to get around COVID restrictions

Ellen Manning
·2-min read
Tequila and Mezcal bar 400 Rabbits has applied to become a religion following strict coronavirus restrictions. (Google Maps)
Tequila and Mezcal bar 400 Rabbits has applied to become a religion following strict coronavirus restrictions. (Google Maps)

The owner of a tequila bar has applied for his business to become a religion so he can stay open amid strict coronavirus restrictions.

James Aspell has applied for 400 Rabbits Tequila and Mezcal Cocktail Bar in Nottingham to become ‘The Church of The Four Hundred Rabbits’.

In what he admits is a joke with a serious side to it, by becoming a ‘church’ the bar would be able to stay open whereas currently it has to close.

Nottingham falls into Tier 3 under new COVID restrictions which come into play this week following the latest lockdown, meaning bars and restaurants have to stay closed but places of worship can stay open.

James Aspell, owner of 400 Rabbits Tequila and Mezcal Cocktail Bar in Nottingham, has applied for it to become a place of worship. (Facebook/400 Rabbits)
James Aspell, owner of 400 Rabbits Tequila and Mezcal Cocktail Bar in Nottingham, has applied for it to become a place of worship. (Facebook/400 Rabbits)

Aspell said while they have received plenty of support, most people realise the move is about highlighting the difficulties faced by many businesses due to the new restrictions and tier system.

He told Yahoo News UK: “The support for the idea has been great but I think people realise we’re not entirely serious with it.

“It's more to point out how unfairly hospitality businesses have been targeted with the new restrictions and how much of an effect it will have on businesses like ours.”

Read more

The Tier 3 COVID lockdown rules explained

The Tier 2 COVID lockdown rules explained

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Aspell previously told Nottinghamshire Live: “With the new restrictions we’re forced to close and it could be months before we can reopen. We don’t have a food offering so even if we were in Tier 2, we couldn’t open.

“We feel like we’ve been targeted unfairly, to an extent and it seems wrong. Everything from gyms to massage parlours can stay open and even the Christmas markets are happening – that was the point when I thought, this is ridiculous.”

Watch: PM facing rebellion as 99% of England placed in toughest coronavirus tiers

He told the newspaper that his application had been sent to the registrar general in Nottingham for consideration and since The Church of Four Hundred Rabbits needs a congregation to be considered a religion, it would be signing people up through a new website.

However, he added that they have no intention of opening unless the application is granted or when restrictions are lifted and would continue to follow government guidance.

The move has come amid widespread anger over the announcement of which areas fall into which tiers last week, with speculation that Boris Johnson will face a rebellion from his own MPs.

The government is due to review the areas by December 16th, but according to one report some areas could be ‘decoupled’ from their areas to soften the blow of the backlash.

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