Wales

Coronavirus: Swansea's Bomking gym stayed open during lockdown

Bomking gym, Swansea

A gym has been ordered to close after being taken to court for repeatedly breaking coronavirus lockdown rules.

Gyms have not been allowed to open during lockdown and Thomas Owen, owner of Bomking Gym in Swansea, had already been served with a prohibition order and two fixed penalty notices.

Swansea council then took the case to the city's magistrates who imposed the order in his absence.

The council said it was a warning to businesses who ignore lockdown rules.

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.

The court heard from one council witness that 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.

In a statement to the court Rhys Harries, from the council's trading standards department, said they 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 the court heard that later, a message on the gym's social media stated: "Back to normal Monday 29th [June] guys sorry for inconvenience."

Mark Thomas, cabinet member for environment enhancement and infrastructure management, said the council was left with "no choice" but to go to court and that it should send out "a strong message" to anyone who ignores lockdown rules.

"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," he added.

"Almost everyone has complied because they could see the benefit for their staff, their customers and the wider community."

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