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Magistrate orders Swansea gym to close

Businesses who fail to comply with lock down law will face legal action, Swansea Council has warned.

Swansea Council Logo (Landscape square)

The warning was issued after city magistrates ordered a gym in Fforestfach to shut after it ignored repeated requests from trading standards officers and police to close down to help protect local communities from the Coronavirus.

Thomas Owen, owner of Bomking Gym on Fforestfach Industrial Estate was yesterday (Mon 6 July) issued with a closure order by the court requiring it stop trading straight away after he had been served with a prohibition order and two fixed penalty notices.

According to one council witness, the gym partially closed its shutters in a bid to look as if it was closed. But its car park was full and music could be heard coming from inside, Swansea Magistrates were told.

The case was the first court action of its kind in Swansea brought under regulations aiming to keep people safe, protect the NHS and save lives.

Mark Thomas, Cabinet member for environment enhancement and infrastructure management, said: "In taking this case to court we are sending out a strong message that those who do not work with us and co-operate in protecting the public will face court action."

He said: "We all know the Welsh Government ordered gyms and leisure centres to close in March because of the risk they posed to the spread of Coronavirus.

"Almost everyone has complied because they could see the benefit for their staff, their customers and the wider community. They are continuing to observe the rules and I want to thank them for helping keep our communities safe, despite the challenges there are for their business.

"However, Mr Owen chose to carry on trading, despite a number of visits by our trading standards officers and police. In the end we had no choice but to go to court."

The court was told the legal action was being brought under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 (as amended), Health Protection (Part 2A Orders) Regulations 2010 and Regulations 3 - Intention to apply For a Part 2A Order.

The court decision allows the council to take necessary further action to enforce closure of the premises should the gym fail to comply.

In a statement to the court, Rhys Harries of Swansea Council Trading Standard said he had issued fixed penalty notices and a prohibition notice but the owner refused to close.

After one visit involving police and trading standards officers, people using the gym at the time left the premises. But later a message on the gym's social media stated: "Back to normal Monday 29th Guys Sorry for inconvenience", the court was told in a statement.

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