The owner of a nail and beauty salon in Wrexham has been fined £1,000 after keeping her business open while the country was in lockdown.
Natalie Hewitt, 32, had denied breaching Covid-19 regulations by failing to close her salon, Smooch Nails & Beauty, in January this year, when the area was in an alert level four lockdown, but was found guilty following a trial at Wrexham Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, reports NorthWalesLive.
Prosecutor Richard Edwards told the court that on January 13, David Gregory, a Wrexham County Borough Council enforcement officer, was patrolling the town centre to check if businesses were complying with coronavirus regulations.
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When he reached the salon at 22 Chester Street he saw four females inside although the shutters were three-quarters closed. Mr Gregory told the court that the group were not socially distanced and a woman, later identified as Ms Hewitt, appeared to be "painting the nails" of one of them.
After the enforcement officer knocked on the door Ms Hewitt answered but refused to open up. Mr Gregory then rang the police but the defendant also refused to open the door to the two PCSOs who attended and kept it "securely closed".
In a statement, read by the prosecutor, PCSO Lance Montagu of North Wales Police said he told Hewitt she should not be operating a business under the regulations and asked where the other females, who had disappeared by this point, had gone.
He added that the defendant was "obstructive", shaking her head, and saying something through the glass door that was inaudible over the noise of the passing traffic.
Defending herself in court Hewitt insisted that she had been alone in the salon while "cleaning and decorating", which would have been allowed under lockdown rules, and said her business was closed.
She also claimed the enforcement officer had been "aggressive" towards her and that she refused to open the door because she was on her own.
However magistrates found Hewitt, of Delamere Avenue, Buckley, guilty of failing to close a business not permitted to be open in an alert level four area of Wales.
Chairman of the bench Celia Jenkins said there was "clear evidence" that the defendant had been asked to open her salon door but refused, telling her: "We find no justification for you refusing to open the door. We find you guilty of carrying on a business contrary to Covid-19 regulations at the time."
Hewitt was fined £1,000 and ordered by magistrates to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs. while she must also pay a £100 victim surcharge.
It comes as the boss of an independent cinema who refused to enforce the Covid Pass scheme for her customers has been told she must close her business and pay costs of over £5,000.
Cinema & Co was ordered to shut by Swansea Council and Welsh Government officials after the owner Anna Redfern said the venue would not enforce the Covid Pass scheme and would "take a stand" against the new measures – which apply to cinemas, theatres, and concert halls – calling them "discriminatory and unlawful".
The Castle Street cinema was issued with a closure order by Swansea Council telling the owners to shut for a maximum of 28 days but the venue defiantly re-opened the following day.
At Swansea Magistrates' Court on Tuesday Redfern was ordered to pay Swansea Council's costs of £5,265 while she was also warned that a contempt of court application remained a possibility if she continued to keep her business open.
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