The owner of a tanning salon is threatening legal action against the government as coronavirus lockdown procedures mean the business must still remain closed.
The Feel Good Group’s Managing Director, Adam Mooney, from County Durham, has been left frustrated after the easing of lockdown saw pubs and hair salons able to reopen in England from today – but not tanning shops.
Tanning salons have been classified in the same category as beauty salons which are also remaining closed as the UK edges out of lockdown.
Mr Mooney has already written to his local MP and Business Secretary Alok Sharma to demand answers over the reasoning for his business to remain closed.
After his enquiries went unanswered, he is now threatening to go to the courts to get the information he wants and to pressure the Government to allow his business to reopen.
He told ChronicleLive: “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.”
The Feel Good Group runs over 90 tanning salons across the UK and has a staff of over 400.
Mr Mooney argues his staff are being unfairly treated by the government’s lockdown plans, and demands they should be allowed to return to work.
Due to the nature of tanning salons, he argues that health and safety and social distancing measures would be easy to maintain.
Tanning shops across the UK have been shut since March 23, while the Government retrospectively re-classified the shops in the same category as beauty salons, blocking their chance to reopen.
Mr Mooney argues the fact that staff and customers interact for an average of two minutes per visit, customers lock themselves in booths, and that the business is not “close proximity” like tattoo parlours or spas, makes the block of reopening unreasonable.
He said: “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.”
He continued: “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 our business activity has now become untenable and is legally, ethically and politically unsupportable.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy argued phased reopening of businesses was required to ensure public safety amid the ongoing health crisis.
They said: “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.”