Tanning salon that stayed open during lockdown claimed it was a medical service

A tanning salon boss who ran her business during the height of lockdown claimed she was offering medical treatment.

Brogan Hayes, 27, has been fined over £1,000 for breaking coronavirus rules.

A court heard how customers packed into her Bradford beauty parlour ‘Hotter Than Hell’ despite police and council warnings that it should be closed.

The Government lifted restrictions on tanning salons on July 4, when pubs, bars, restaurants and hairdressers were also allowed to reopen after three months of lockdown.

Bradford Magistrates’ Court heard that Hayes ‘wilfully and deliberately’ operated Hotter Than Hell from as early as May, when the council received complaints about customers flocking to the beauty parlour.

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Police advised Hayes to close the salon but she told officers she had a ‘medical exemption’ for providing clinical facilities and was offering ‘narrow beam UVB therapy’ to sufferers of skin conditions.

However she could not provide evidence when asked if the salon was registered with the British Medical Association and whether she was medically qualified.

She continued to operate the business and became ‘aggressive and irate’ when it was visited by Environmental Health officials on one occasion.

Hayes, who was not present at the time, told council staff over the phone that she would ‘continue to operate and if they didn’t leave the premises she would come down and remove them’.

The business was issued a prohibition notice on May 19 saying it must shut down but Hayes did not comply with the order. It was revisited by officials on June 15, when a defiant Hayes said she would remain open and told her customers not to leave.

A week later she posted on Facebook boasting about how busy she was.

On June 22 Hayes wrote: ‘Open until 8pm. If the shop phone is saying mailbox full it’s because we’ve taken it off the hook due to being at maximum capacity in the shop. You’ll need to hang about 10 mins or so and try again.’

On July 3 Hayes said she would be closed the next day for a rest – ironically the date when she was legally allowed to operate.

The post said: ‘Evening Guys, just to let you all know we are closed tomorrow (Saturday 4th July). The beds need a good rest and tbh so do we. I’m sure you will understand the level of custom [the] last few weeks has been phenomenal. See you Monday.’

Hayes attended court to plead guilty in writing but left before her case was heard.

Sentencing magistrate Reverend George Williams said: ‘Despite several warnings, Brogan Hayes continued to open her business in contravention of the regulations.

‘The offences were committed at the height of the lockdown, and her actions were deliberate and wilful.’

It is not known how much money Hayes made by illegally operating Hotter Than Hell during lockdown. The court heard she has since sold the business and is on Universal Credit.

After the case Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, Councillor Sarah Ferriby, said: ‘We will always take action where we find that a business is operating in contravention of COVID-19 regulations.

‘ Our priority has to be to protect the public’s health at this time of rising infection.

‘The vast majority of businesses in the Bradford district are following the regulations to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19) despite the economic hardship this is causing, and we are very grateful for their support during the pandemic.’

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