Snohomish barber given
SNOHOMISH — The Stag barbershop has been given a final warning to stop.
Bob Martin’s barbershop on Avenue D publicly resumed giving haircuts on May 1, which is a prohibited activity within Snohomish County under the state’s COVID-19-related regulations on businesses.
On Wednesday, May 20, Martin received a cease-and-desist letter from the state Attorney General’s office, giving warning that he had until Friday after press time to close under the order or else the state will sue him and seek financial penalties.
Martin reportedly has hired an attorney.
Earlier this month, the state Department of Licensing and county health district both sent letters asking Martin to halt.
Martin’s cosmetology license was ordered suspended by Licensing on Thursday, May 7.
The letter from the Attorney General’s office says: “The COVID-19 virus spreads easily from person to person and the only way to control it, and save lives, is to maintain social distancing, including closing nonessential business. By keeping your barbershop open, you are endangering the lives of your customers and your community.” The AG’s office also wrote that it is an unfair business advantage to take customers while competing barbershops are adhering to the closure orders.
Mayor John Kartak said in a mid-May interview he spoke with Martin on May 4 to caution him about the liabilities in staying open, and said he asked Martin to wear a mask and take safety precautions.
“Given this isn’t the city’s place to enforce, I was hoping I’d have a little influence there,” Kartak said.
On May 7, Kartak and City Council President Jason Sanders published a joint letter to the public saying that “all community members and businesses are expected to comply with emergency measures while we move toward economic recovery, together,” and to contact the governor’s office with complaints and to not call 911.
Kartak said the city doesn’t want to overstep its boundaries into enforcing the governor’s orders. During last week’s council meeting, Kartak gave three reasons why the state’s complaint system is the proper channel for complaints, one of which is that it allows for violation tracking purposes.
The Stag isn’t the only source of complaints to City Hall, Kartak said in the interview. “We have received concerns about parks, the skate park, and even grocery stores.”
Arlington gym concedes
An Arlington gym called PA Fitness, off of Highway 9, halted operations after receiving a final warning letter from the AG’s office.
“After words from our attorney, he stated that it would cost not only me but my partners as well millions of dollars to fight and we would lose,” a statement on PA Fitness’s Facebook page said.
When the state moves Snohomish County forward in the multi-phase reopening plan to Phase Two, barbershops and limited activity at fitness centers would be among what can legally reopen.
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