Great Britain

Owner of Darlington tanning chain thinking about legal action as shops not allowed to open

THE owner of a tanning shop chain is considering legal action in a bid to get the government to reconsider restrictions keeping his businesses closed.

Adam Mooney, who owns the Darlington-based Feel Good Group, which is behind the Tanning Shop brand, said it was “unjustifiable” to keeps tanning shops closed while other businesses like pubs and hairdressers are allowed to open from today.

Mr Mooney said: “Legal action is a last resort but we are prepared to take this all the way.

“If the government is unwilling to come to the right and reasonable decision to let our shops open on Saturday, along with hair salons and pubs, then we are left with little option but to seek a ruling through the courts.”

Tanning salons have been put in the same class as beauty salons, but Mr Mooney has argued that his shops do not require close contact and can provide the service while maintaining two-metre social distancing, adding that interaction time between customers and staff is limited to two minutes.

He has developed a series of protocols for how his shops would work to ensure the safety of staff and customers, which have been sent to business secretary Alok Sharma, as well as his MP, Paul Howell.

Last night, the government's department for business said it was taking a "cautious"  approach to reopening the economy. 

The Tanning Shop has its headquarters at Morton Park, in Darlington, and has more than 90 salons across the country, including one in Bishop Auckland, employing more than 400 people.

All of the shops have been closed since March in line with the law.

Mr Mooney added: “We have taken legal advice and it is clear in our mind that the restriction to our business activity is manifestly unreasonable, unjustifiable and inconsistent with the Covid-19 regulations and is having a serious, material, impact on the viability of our business and the 400 jobs associated with our company.

“It is now absurd that an activity, which incurs less physical contact than that of a hairdresser, and arguably provides a more socially distant venue, is required to remain closed for a longer period. We believe that as a result of this update, the stance on the classification of of our business activity has now become untenable and is legally, ethically and politically unsupportable.”

This week, Mr Mooney joined with the owners of three other tanning businesses, including Glasgow-based Indigo Sun, Consol Tanning Studios in Bristol and Sunseekers Sunbeds, to make their case for being allowed to reopen.

A spokesperson for  the department for business, energy and industrial strategy said: “We are taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy in a way that protects customers and workers.

“We intend to allow these businesses to re-open as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, businesses can continue to access our extensive package of financial support to help them through this difficult period.”

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