South Glos

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Welsh council bolts cinema entrance shut after failure to follow closure order

A cinema at the centre of a dispute surrounding Covid-19 vaccination passports has had its shutters bolted shut by Swansea Council after refusing to heed a closure order.

In late November, new regulations came into force in Wales, which made it mandatory to require customers to present Covid passes at cinemas, alongside other venues where large numbers of people gather.

However, Cinema & Co. in central Swansea refused to require proof of vaccination from customers in defiance of the new rules.

A closure order was issued in response by Swansea Magistrates' Court last month, but owner Anna Redfern continued to run screenings of Christmas films, despite the order.

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According to a BBC report, the council has now bolted the cinema's shutters to the ground.

The move comes as the council has issued another court summons to the owner, which relates to a number of offences specific to the non-compliance of Welsh Covid-19 health regulations.

The council is also making an application for contempt of court because of the failure of the business to comply with the recent court order.

In a statement, a council spokesperson said Swansea still has "serious concerns" about the public health risks at Cinema & Co because of the business's failure to demonstrate it has put in place appropriate measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

The spokesperson added: "During the pandemic the council has worked with hundreds of businesses, supporting them to implement covid-related regulations. These have been developed to help protect the public and keep businesses trading in a safe way.

"At a time when the Omicron variant of the virus is affecting Wales and elsewhere in the UK, it is vital that the public and businesses continue to comply with regulations and do their bit to keep friends, family and loved ones safe. We continue to urge Cinema and Co to play its part."

Four days ago, a post on the cinema's social media pages said the business would close for the rest of the year in order for the owner to care for her dying mother.

Private bookings will still be honoured and can still be made, the social media post added.

A council spokesperson said: "Whilst the business has stated its intentions to suspend cinema screenings, it is clear they plan on remaining open for other bookings.

"Further action has been taken to enforce a Court Order to prevent the business opening again and putting the public at risk of infection.

"We would urge the business to remain closed so they can respond positively to requests made by the court, the Welsh Government and the Council, to complete required improvements in line with the current coronavirus regulations."

Adam Carey

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