Covid pass: Cinema & Co 'shut down' after its owner snubs Welsh Government scheme

An independent cinema has been shut down after its owner announced she would not implement the Welsh Government's Covid pass scheme - describing it as "the final nail in the coffin".

Cinema & Co, on Castle Street in Swansea, announced on Tuesday it would not enforce the rules which were implemented this week, extending the Covid pass scheme in Wales to cover cinemas, theatres and concert halls.

However, after announcing its intention on Facebook, the Swansea business said the new rules facing cinemas, theatres and concert halls were "unfair and killing the entertainment industry", and vowed to "take a stand" against these new "discriminatory and unlawful" measures.

The cinema did reopen for a period on Friday, with supporters attending the venue to show their support. However, the cinema had closed by late afternoon.

The decision not to follow the rules was met with mixed reaction on social media - with some criticising the decision as "reckless", while others supported the stance, calling it "courageous".

A Council Spokesperson said: “The Council has recently issued the owners of Cinema & Co with a legal notice requiring them to close for a maximum of 28 days.

"This was issued due to the absence of any measures to protect the public against Covid-19.

“We have since been made aware the business has reopened and we are now considering further steps to ensure the venue complies with the current covid regulations.

"Thankfully, the majority of businesses in Swansea have acted in a responsible manner in the interests of public safety and have worked with the Council to ensure venues have appropriate measures in place to help minimise the spread of coronavirus.”

Welsh Government regulations say that businesses have to complete a risk assessment before opening and that should include whether a Covid pass is needed and how it would be enforced.

Fixed penalty notices can be given to businesses who breach regulations, with the maximum fine for repeated breaches by businesses being £10,000.

The business was closed down temporarily on Thursday (November 18) evening, with notices pinned to the outside of the premises, claiming the business had not carried out a Covid risk assessment.

Earlier this week, Cinema & co took to social media, saying: "Dear Customers. As an independent business, we will not be implementing the nonsensical & unnecessary Covid passports here in Swansea, Wales, as they are unlawful, an infringement of our human rights & discriminate against those exercising their right to bodily autonomy."

The decision was made by owner, Anna Redfern, who transformed the venue into a foods and drink location earlier this year after ongoing battles with lockdown.

Covid passes have been required to gain entry to venues such as nightclubs and music and sports events

After announcing the decision not to follow the covid pass scheme, she said, "There are businesses that are skirting around the rules, people aren't using them appropriately and the sheer knowledge that you have to have one of these is putting people off.

"People don't want to come for this reason and this is why I wanted to say something and take a stand.

"Businesses are living in fear of losing their livelihoods and I'm in the exact same position, I didn't want to pretend to comply anymore out of fear".

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