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In an interview on “Fox & Friends First” with host Todd Piro, Staten Island’s Sunbelievable Salons owner Bobby Catone explained that as soon as he had briefly opened his doors on Thursday, law enforcement threatened him with jail time and an indefinite suspension of his health license.
“We went as a peaceful protest basically,” he stated. “Trying to get small businesses in the community open. [It was a] very nice turnout…Our first customer was [New York City Council member] Joe Borelli. He came in, bought his products, [and] as soon as he bought his products police very politely issued a summons and if I continued to stay open [they would] threaten me with jail time and [take] my health license away indefinitely.”
“So, of course, we chose to shut down and not take it to the next level,” he added.
Borelli pointed out that the obstacles for business owners only increase as each day passes.
“We have business owners [who] every day that goes by, more and more go bankrupt, more and more jobs are lost, more and more people join the one million meals a day now given out by the city of New York to people who are newly impoverished,” he told Piro. “And yet, there’s no sense of urgency on reopening.”
New York is not expected to enter the first phase of a reopening plan until June. Phase 1 of the plan would include loosened restrictions for manufacturers, construction, wholesale supply chains, and retail businesses implementing curbside pickup. It would not include businesses like Sunbelievable. 38 other states are currently allowed to open up salons, but New York is still very much the epicenter of the pandemic which has killed over 100,000 Americans.
“We’ve been told to hold off, hold off, hold off,” Catone exclaimed.
“How long could this go on?” he asked. “We’re broke. I’m broke. My fellow Staten Island business owners are broke. My staff is broke. We’ve got a little PPP [money], but you know that only goes so far.”
“It’s insane what’s happening,” Catone concluded.