Yesterday, I wrote about a disturbing incident involving a tattoo parlor owner here in North Carolina who was handcuffed and escorted out of his shop Wednesday by police officers after he tried to reopen his business.
Matthew “Jax” Myers, 38, told the Raleigh News and Observer that he had no options left but to open back up because he needed the income, so it was a risk he was willing to take.
Click here to watch the video clip of Meyers being led out of his business by police.
In a separate incident that happened earlier today, police in Roxboro, North Carolina showed up to a woman’s hair salon to get her to shut it down after she attempted to reopen:
Thursday morning, [Jessica] Wesley said she did a few men’s cuts before Roxboro Police Department officers walked in. ABC11 was in the salon as Roxboro officers came to ask Wesley to close her business.
“I understand what you’re trying to do, I really do, but there are laws in place for this exact kind of thing that we have to abide by and enforce,” an officer said. “We really, really want you to voluntarily comply with this.”
Wesley said she understood and added, “I feel like we’ve gotten our point across. So let’s just call it quits. My point is made, and I appreciate it.”
The officer stressed the need for voluntary compliance in the City of Roxboro, adding, “nobody’s coming in here trying to slap handcuffs on anyone.”
By opening Thursday, Wesley and her clients risked a class II misdemeanor charge for violating an executive order. She also could lose her license.
Lynda Elliott, Executive Director of the State Board of Cosmetic Arts said she contacted Wesley today about violating the order.
“The Governor could always ask us to take a look at her violation and take out additional action,” Elliott said. “I’m not saying we definitely would or would not, because we don’t take actions on misdemeanors for any other crime that might occur.”
Wesley had posted a video on Facebook Tuesday talking about how she planned on reopening this week and was also interviewed by WTVD on Wednesday to talk about her intentions and how she planned on taking safety precautions with her clients:
“I got my Clorox spray, my disinfectant wipes, my barbercide wipes. I have all of the things I am supposed to do to keep people healthy,” Wesley said, adding that she’ll be the only one in the shop, styling one head at a time and wearing a mask if asked.
WTVD reporter Tim Pulliam was livestreaming Wesley preparing to cut a client’s hair earlier today when the officers showed up:
This, again, was just not a good look for Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and other state officials, who have so far been very dodgy when asked about whether or not police presence is the appropriate remedy in these situations.
Another instance of the police being involved to shut down a business owner just trying to earn a living and put food on the table. These seem to be getting more frequent as fatigue sets in on the current restrictions. #NCPOL https://t.co/aYVXY1A2Fb
— Brent Woodcox (@BrentWoodcox) April 30, 2020
For the record, Person County – which is where Roxboro is located – has had a total of 20 cases diagnosed, and one death.
As I previously noted, Gov. Cooper announced a three-phase plan for reopening which didn’t really sound like a reopen plan at all. In fact, the plan basically puts restaurants, bars, hair salons and other small businesses in very tough positions at least through the beginning of June if not longer.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (R), who is Cooper’s opponent in the fall election, slammed Cooper’s plan after it was announced last week, noting how it was unfair that the governor had one-size-fits all approach for the state when there were counties like Person County where there were few cases or none at all.
Cooper extended the state’s stay at home order through May 8th, and said phase one of his plan would only begin assuming North Carolina continues to flatten the curve. But with the standards on reopening continuing to evolve, expect the Reopen movement to grow and for more protesters and small business owners to be confronted and/or arrested.