Princess Beatrice has insisted she’s done nothing wrong, after being accused of flouting Covid rules by attending an indoor dinner with people from different households.
The royal, 32, was seen with her property developer husband Edoardo Mozzi, 37, and four other people in luxury Mayfair restaurant Isabel last Wednesday night, but now a spokesperson has claimed it was a ‘business development dinner’ and all parties left ‘in good time before the government curfew’.
Under the capital’s strict Tier 2 lockdown rules, only members of the same household can gather indoors – including in restaurants, but there is an exception for business meetings to take place for workers who don’t have office space.
According to The Mirror, a spokesperson for Beatrice and her husband Edoardo Mozzi said: ‘This was a midweek Wednesday evening, work related, business development dinner. It was held in compliance with all government guidelines, the dinner was held in the early evening and all parties left in good time before the government curfew.
‘Strict masks were worn in line with the government advice.’
Princess Beatrice breached social distancing rules by posing with her Norwegian friend Peter Dundas (left) in Mayfair
The royal’s property developer husband Edoardo Mozzi, 37, (right, with the Princess in Mayfair earlier this month) attended the dinner with Beatrice and four other friends
At one point in the evening, Beatrice – the ninth in line to the throne – took a picture with her fashion-designer friend Peter Dundas in which the mask-wearing pair breached social distancing rules.
He shared the picture online saying it was good to ‘catch up’ with the Princess.
And several social media users were quick to wish the fashion designer Happy Birthday in the comments section.
It comes after other diners claimed the event looked ‘very social’ and alcohol was seen on the Princess’s table.
The three-hour dinner at Isabel (pictured) has been brushed off as an ‘introductory work meeting’ by royal sources – which would make it permissible under current rules
Several social media users were quick to wish the fashion designer happy birthday in the comments section (pictured)
What are the rules on socialising indoors?
Under Tier 2 rules, which were in place during Beatrice’s outing last week, it is illegal to socialise inside restaurants with people from outside your household.
Tier 2 permits pubs to stay open only if they serve food and households can only mix outside with a substantial meal. But diners in England cannot linger or order more booze after their food is finished – and will be expected to go even when they have more left to drink.
Landlords will be expected to ask their customers to leave – or face hefty fines for breaching the Government’s strict coronavirus legislation.
People are technically banned from meeting inside pubs and restaurants in ‘high risk’ and ‘very high risk’ lockdown areas such as London and Greater Manchester.
But Downing Street and local authorities have suggested that meetings inside hospitality venues are allowed as long as they are for ‘work purposes’.
Up to 30 people from different households may meet indoors for work, as long as the place they are meeting is Covid-secure, according to Government guidance.
A No10 spokesman confirmed in October that while current rules advise people to limit their social contact and work from home ‘where possible’, people are permitted to meet indoors for work purposes ‘in high or very high areas’. In tier three areas, pubs are closed other than those which serve ‘substantial meals’.
In the official guidelines to the Tier 2 restrictions, the Government stated: ‘Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.’
Apart from this exception, Londoners ‘must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place’.
But it seems restaurants are relying on ‘exception 3’ in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local Covid-19 Alert Level) (Medium) Regulations 2020 Act, which states: ‘Exception 3 is that the gathering is reasonably necessary – a) for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services.’
The loophole caused a stir on Twitter last month, with some users planning a ‘working lunch of eight pints at 9pm’ and a ‘9am meeting’ in a Wetherspoon pub.
A fellow restaurant goer – who asked not to be named – told The Sun:
‘I couldn’t believe my eyes. If the Royal Family can’t get coronavirus rules right, what hope for the rest of us?’
They added: ‘There is a very serious side to this and Beatrice deserves a ticking off.’
London’s infection rate per 100,000 people stood at 191.8 on December 6, up from 158.1 the previous week, and the capital will enter Tier 3 at midnight.
Beatrice is not a working member of the royal family and instead works for American software company Afiniti as ‘vice president of partnerships and strategy’.
A manager at Isabel said he wasn’t working on the night the royal came in, but stressed that the restaurant follows all the guidance put forward by the Government.
He said if a group is understood to not be living under the same roof they would not be granted a table.
It comes as Sadiq Khan called for all London to be closed from today in defiance of the government’s vow to keep them open, and despite warnings that shutting down the capital will deliver another economic hammer blow to Britain.
Mr Khan’s demand follows a unilateral announcement by the Labour leader of Greenwich council that he would close all schools in his borough tomorrow – leaving parents dashing to find four days of child care before the term ends on Thursday.
The move puts Greenwich on a collision course with Education Secretary Gavin Williamson who warned that schools who do not stay open face legal action by the government – and it will also fuel teaching unions who arguing that schools should be shut across the country.
It adds to fears that a decision on Wednesday to plunge London into Tier 3 restrictions looks ‘inevitable’ despite reports Health Secretary Matt Hancock was considering splitting the capital to impose tough restriction on outer boroughs with high infection rates while keeping the West End open.
But Mr Khan also called that move impractical and a morning briefing today between MPs from London and its surrounding areas will address the city’s infection rate, which puts it ahead of regions such as the West Midlands, which are already in Tier 3.
Beatrice (pictured) is not a working member of the royal family and instead works for American software company Afiniti as ‘vice president of partnerships and strategy’