Magistrates have ordered the closure of a hair salon and said its owner has caused “distress to the public” by repeatedly opening to customers during the current lockdown.
Sinead Quinn, owner of Quinn Blakey Hairdressing in Oakenshaw, near Bradford, did not appear at Bradford Magistrates’ Court for the hearing on Monday.
The closure application went ahead in her absence, with magistrates making the order to close the salon until just after midnight on Wednesday “to prevent nuisance to members of the public and to safeguard public health”.
Kirklees Council has issued Ms Quinn with fixed penalty notices totalling £17,000 for trading during lockdown and served the closure notice on Saturday.
Tahir Hanif, representing the council at Monday’s half-hour hearing, said Ms Quinn had refused to open the door to engage with enforcement officers.
He said she had mentioned Magna Carta, telling council officers that coronavirus legislation “does not apply to her and she does not consent to abide by these particular regulations”.
He said the conversations were recorded and posted on the hair salon’s Instagram page, “which received notoriety”.
Mr Hanif said the fixed penalty notices “seemed to have no impact” and Ms Quinn was given a “final opportunity” to comply last week but she continued to open.
Chairwoman of the bench Rebecca Todd said she had concerns about the timing of the closure application, due to lockdown regulations coming to an end on December 2.
Mr Hanif said it was accepted that the application should have been made sooner but said it was a “last resort” after Kirklees Council’s attempts to engage with Ms Quinn were unsuccessful and complaints increased.
He said: “A decision was taken, notwithstanding the short period of time, a message had to be sent that this type of behaviour will not be acceptable.”
“We think it is necessary to prevent nuisance to members of the public and to safeguard public health.
“She is continuing in her behaviour, which is causing distress to the public in an already stressful and disturbing time.”
Kirklees Council said the closure order means that anyone entering the premises could be arrested and fined or given a maximum prison sentence of 51 weeks.
Speaking after the court hearing, cabinet member Paul Davies said Ms Quinn and the customers who visited the salon during lockdown had “acted selfishly and recklessly”.
He said: “This is the last thing we wanted to have to do but we have been left with no choice.
“Today’s result is not a cause for celebration, it’s a message to anyone who thinks they are above the law.
“The truth is that we are gravely disappointed that it has come to this, as this is not something we ever wanted to do, but public health is our number one priority.”