Council to patrol streets as Quinn Blakey hairdresser indicates illegal 'Great Re-opening' plans after racking up £17,000 in fines last lockdown
Kirklees Council will be patrolling the streets of all its towns this weekend as the Quinn Blakey hair salon owner has indicated that she will illegally open her salon on Saturday.
Sinead Quinn, owner of Quinn Blakey Hairdressing, in Bradford, West Yorkshire, suggested the salon will reopen on Saturday January 30 on a day dubbed "The Great Reopening".
Quinn flouted the rules in November, quoting the Magna Carta as a defence to not comply with the government's measures to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The long-running saga saw her rack up £17,000 worth of Fixed Penalty Notices, which Kirkless Council said had not yet been paid.
Ahead of the indicated opening plans, Kirklees Council has said it will have a "visible presence on the streets" this weekend to ensure resident safety and the enforcement of restrictions.
The Council also said it will "not hesitate to take immediate action if a business poses a threat to public health in Kirklees".
The full statement from a spokesperson for Kirklees Council said: “The vast majority of businesses in Kirklees have played their part in following the rules, protecting our communities and keeping people safe.
“We will have a visible presence on the streets in all our towns this weekend to make sure residents are safe and that the restrictions are enforced. At the same time, the council continues to help local businesses during these difficult times by administering grants, providing advice and supporting them to keep Kirklees people safe.
“The council has taken strong action when we have been made aware of cases where restrictions have been ignored. We have issued fines and initiated legal proceedings to protect residents and we will not hesitate to take immediate action if a business poses a threat to public health in Kirklees.”
The Oakenshaw salon owner was ordered by magistrates during the second national lockdown on November 30 to close the salon "to prevent nuisance to members of the public and to safeguard public health” until just after midnight on December 2 when tiering restrictions came in.
Magistrates said Sinead Quinn caused “distress to the public” by repeatedly opening to customers during the current lockdown.
Ms Quinn did not appear at Bradford Magistrates’ Court for the hearing on Monday but the closure application went ahead in her absence “to prevent nuisance to members of the public and to safeguard public health”.
In a series of recent posts on Instagram, she told followers she plans to re-open the business despite non-essential businesses being ordered to close under lockdown rules.
A comment from the salon on Instagram said: "We're all opening regardless of lockdown. They can't control us all when we stand up to them."
In a separate post, she wrote the caption: "When is lockdown meant to end? Feb?
"In February you can bet your life savings that Covid-21 will be here and so will your lockdown.
"I’d like you to sit back and watch it all play out but we’re running out of time.
"Stand up for your freedoms. 30th January. Get up and open your businesses, go out and support those businesses. We are the power, not them."
In a story on her Instagram page, Quinn said: "If masks work, why are cases increasing? Why are we in lockdown? Why are you still wearing your mask?"
Quinn has shared a number of videos to the business's Instagram page questioning lockdown and other Covid measures.
She previously pinned a notice to the door of her shop citing the Magna Carta declaring that she did not consent to the lockdown.
Practising barrister and best-selling writer The Secret Barrister debunked such a defence last year, labelling it “pure nonsense” and “pseudo-legal rubbish”.
A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “With the time given to pay the fines now passed, we have started a prosecution process and are currently putting our case together.
"This process can take some time and could potentially lead to a trial. Punishment could be an unlimited fine, decided by the court.
"In the meantime, if further breaches of lockdown rules occur, we will need to take the same appropriate action which will be the case for any business.”
A post on the Quinn Blakey Hairdressing Instagram account on November 5, during the second national lockdown, read: “Lockdown Day 1. I earned this week’s rent today, not sure where I would be pulling that money from given the Government want self-employed business people to wait six weeks for a payment.
“I still have mortgage, bills, childcare fees, food, car, insurance etc, not to mention the overheads for the shop.
“If we give up now, I can categorically guarantee your small businesses will not survive this lockdown – given it’s not going to be four weeks.
“Like I said before, this is more than just having a business and an income, this is my children’s future and that’s more important to me than anything.”