After refusing to give Covid passes to customers, a cinema owner failed to appear in court.
Anna Redfern did not turn up at Swansea Magistrates’ Court earlier after the city council sought a court order to stop her reopening Cinema & Co.
Neale Thomas, a district judge, asked for council submissions explaining why closure notice was necessary and adjourned case to 30 November.
Redfern refused to comment on being approached in her cinema.
She had previously indicated that she would not ask anyone for Covid passes. However, when asked about her statement, she replied, “I have no comment because litigation is pending.”
The council served Ms Redfern with a notice of closure on 18 November. She was accused of failing to adhere to several coronavirus regulations.
Covid passes, which are legally required for all cinemas, were not allowed to be used after they had been closed.
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Lee Reynolds, Prosecutor, stated that the premises seem to suggest that the pandemic does not exist.
On the complaint for a civil order put before the court, the council asserted that Cinema & Co had not completed a Covid risk assessment, and had not informed staff of the measures required to prevent transmission of the disease.
The council also stated that the cinema did not implement reasonable measures such as a Covid pass and didn’t have sufficient cleaning products or antiviral products in order to decrease transmission.
Reynolds stated to court that he is concerned by the delay caused by the “state” of the premises.
Covid passes are required by law for any person over the age of 18 to use nightclubs and other large-scale events in Wales since 11 Oct.
The pass requirement was extended to cinemas, concert halls, and theatres starting on 15 November. It requires people to show proof that they have been fully vaccinated and/or had a negative result in lateral flow testing within the last 48 hours.
Judge Thomas stated that he was worried the council would bring the closing notice under the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984, and not the coronavirus legislation of the Welsh government.
He stated that the Welsh government would have been able to grant enforcement powers to the Welsh government, but it chose not.
Reynolds called the Coronavirus Act “very restricted” and explained that the closure notice had to be made in that way.
Redfern told him that Ms Redfern made “multiple assertions in press, and posted comments online which were inflammatory and highly controversial”.
According to the Welsh government, “Due to breaches of Coronavirus regulations as identified by Swansea Council, premises were served with notices that they must close because of the danger to public health.”
Enforcement action is underway because “the owner has decided not to comply” with the legal requirement. We are not permitted to discuss ongoing legal proceedings.
Cinema & Co remained open on Thursday, after Ms Redfern failed to show up for her court case.
You can access the NHS Covid card digitally by registering for an NHS login through this website.
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