A barber who served in the United States Marine Corps decided to open his shop despite Washington Democrat Gov. Jay Inslee’s order “non-essential” businesses be shut and people stay in their homes — an order he extended on Friday to May 31.
But Martin decided he had to reopen to pay the bills.
At first, Martin served his customers in darkened premises until his supporters included the local police, Fox News reported:
He said he turned the lights and “Open” sign back on after seeing Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney’s Facebook post from last month that said he will not enforce the governor’s order because it is a violation of constitutional rights.
“If they fine me, take away my license, or not renew it, I’m going to operate anyway,” Martin said. “What are you going to do now? I don’t need a piece of paper to do what I’ve been doing for 60 years.”
Martin said he received support from customers who lined up outside the shop over the weekend, with some leaving extra tips and even paying double.
“I think more people are going to suffer from not being able to pay their bills than will ever suffer from the virus,” customer Eddie Donovan told the local Fox News affiliate KOMO News.
So far, 834 people in Washington state have died from the virus, according to state health department data.
“While hair salons and barbershops in states like Georgia, West Virginia, and Kansas have been allowed to reopen, shops forced to remain closed in other states are, like Martin, feeling the economic strain under the lockdown,” KOMO News reported.
Meanwhile, hair salon owner Lindsey Graham, of Salem, Ore., told FOX12 she was reopening on Tuesday for her family’s well-being, despite Democrat Gov. Kate Brown’s lockdown order.
“I’m risking going to jail to do it,” Graham said. “That’s how important it is to my family.”
Oregon state officials have said those who don’t comply with the order could face misdemeanor charges leading to a fine or even time behind bars.
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter