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A traditional Christmas with all the family sat around the table for dinner, pulling Christmas crackers swapping presents looks more and more unlikely due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic - but one man claims to have found a way around the rule of six.
Fenn Settle, 27, from Shipley, has set up his own company so he can invite his family members over for Christmas as "employees".
Fenn, who lives in West Yorkshire, faced celebrating the festive period without his loved ones as Leeds faced going into Tier 3 - the most restrictive level of Covid-19 related rules. West Yorkshire entered Tier 3 today. A Downing Street spokesperson said earlier this week: "The rules are those which apply to household mixing in general and what that means in practice is if you are in a very high alert level (Tier 3) then you cannot mix with other households indoors or in private outdoor spaces."
Under Tier 3 people must not meet anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The rule of six applies in open public spaces such as parks and beaches. Social distancing rules over the festive period remain unclear.
Fenn decided to set up his own financial consultancy business, Fenn settle Ltd. and says after he receives his documents his company "will remain in place and un-trading for as long as he wishes."
The account manager declared his move was a "check mate" against the government and says the "joke's on them".
In a Facebook post, Fenn explained his decision. He wrote: "Right then UK government, jokes on you [sic].
"I'm not allowed to have my family around for Christmas. I am however allowed to have employees around. £6 later, Fenn Settle Ltd. is now a legally registered company, registered with Companies House.
"I can now 'hire' my family and friends on a zero-hour contract and invite them for an 'unpaid works event' at my house (registered premises) regardless of any tier system and totally irrespective of the rule of six. Checkmate."
Fenn claims that his stunt was inspired by the heartbreak of not being able to see his beloved grandad Peter Williams for two months before he passed away at the end of April aged 84.
"It's that that's got me thinking of [setting up the business]. People are dying on their own and yet you can see work colleagues.
"I tried booking a dinner reservation for me and a couple of work colleagues. They said they weren't able to sit us and I said 'we're in a work bubble' and that was fine."
Fenn, who has since seen his story go viral, added: "I never expected the post to have this kind of response. It was very much tongue in cheek. It takes up to a week to get everything registered. I'm registering it as a dormant company for some laughs on Facebook, but it escalated."
Fenn insists he registered the company to make a point about how "ridiculous" the rules are and does not currently plan to hire his family.
After revealing his stunt online, Fenn's post received more than 8,500 shares and 1,800 reactions, from people delighted at the loophole.
Hopefully he won't send his family P45s after New Year's...
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