North Bay Barber May Lose License After Defying COVID-19 Shutdown Order

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A North Bay barber who defied a state order to close up shop to help slow the spread of the coronavirus now may lose his license for his defiance.

Juan Desmarais, owner of Primo's Barbershop, received multiple certified letters from the state attorney general’s office this week ordering him to court as the state considers suspending his barber’s license and his business license.

"They’re taking steps to make people that are hard-working American business owners, they're making us the bad guys," Desmarais said. "Nothing surprises me anymore."

Desmarais reopened despite the shutdown order at the beginning of May. He and his team never hid their decision to keep working.

"I took this stand for a reason," Desmarais said. "The number one reason was to show we’re Americans. We’re rebellious in nature. We’re going to stand up for our rights."

In a statement to NBC Bay Area, a spokesperson for the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology said, "The Board understands the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected businesses and we are sensitive to that, however, the Board’s purpose is to protect consumers. When guidelines are not followed to the extent that they place consumers at risk, we must take action."

Meanwhile, Desmarais has no regrets.

"I still stand by it and I would have done it the same way 100 times over regardless of the consequences," he said.

This week, Desmarais learned his shop was voted Solano County’s best barbershop by readers of the local newspaper.

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