Welsh council pursues closure order after cinema refuses to implement Covid pass rule

An independent cinema in Swansea is facing a closure order after it refused to demand customers show proof of vaccination on entry.

The Welsh Government had already mandated the use of Covid passes at nightclubs and large events but recently extended it to cinemas, theatres and concert halls.

The owner of Cinema and Co., Anna Redfern, refused to heed the change, which came into effect on Monday, describing the measures as unlawful and discriminatory.

Swansea Council is now seeking a closure order for the business, in light of Mrs Redfern's position.

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WalesOnline has reported that District Judge Neale Thomas questioned whether it was proper and legal for the local authority to seek a closure order under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 to effect action under Covid regulations, noting the Welsh Government had chosen not to include closure powers in its coronavirus legislation.

He asked for written submissions from the local authority on the matter and adjourned the hearing to November 30, according to the report.

In a social media post, the business informed its customers it would not ask to see "nonsensical & unnecessary" Covid passports from as "they are unlawful, an infringement of our human rights & discriminate against those exercising their right to bodily autonomy".

The post went on to cite the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It read: "We will respect your right to privacy (Article 12). It added that whether customers had been vaccinated or not was "irrelevant" and should not prevent them from accessing their "right to culture (Article 27)".

"We will not discriminate against any customer based on age, race, gender, disability, creed or personal medical choices (Article 2)," the post said.

A Crowdfunder has been set up by a third party to help raise funds for the company "due to loss of business" for the period of the closure notice. Around £59,000 has been donated, with 21 days left before the Crowdfunder expires.

Adam Carey

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