NYC Tanning Salon Owner to Reopen in Defiance of Lockdown, Says 'All Businesses Are Essential'

A New York City tanning salon owner said he will reopen Thursday in defiance of city lockdown orders.

"I'm opening business on Thursday at 11:30 a.m.," Bobby Catone, owner of Sunbelievable in Great Kills, Staten Island, said Tuesday in an interview with the Staten Island Advance, a local newspaper.

"We had to flatten the curve, and on Staten Island we not only flattened it, we demolished it," Catone said.

According to a New York City coronavirus tracker, Staten Island, whose population is about 476,000, has reported fewer than 10 cases a day for the past three weeks.

The salon owner repeated that Staten Island "basically demolished the curve" in a Wednesday interview with the New York Post, adding, "So why are they treating us like prisoners?"

Governor Andrew Cuomo pointed out in his daily coronavirus press conference Monday that Staten Island is part of New York City, which as a whole has yet to meet the state's parameters for reopening.

"What you would have to say is Staten Island is a place unto itself, and I understand the Staten Island mentality...but it's not a place unto itself for this purpose. If you live on Staten Island, you very well may be working in Manhattan, you're traveling through the New York City area, so Staten Island is part of New York City," Cuomo said. "That is the region in which the infection would spread."

Catone told the Advance that business owners "know what the protocols are" and said he wants to "take the ball and roll with it" by reopening so that others can feel emboldened and follow suit.

"This is taking our livelihoods away. In my case, it's my busy season—that's hundreds of thousands of dollars.... It's like shutting down Macy's in December. I don't think I'll have a business after this if I can't open now," Catone said. The salon now has a banner on the front that reads, "All Businesses Are Essential."

At his coronavirus press conference Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked about businesses that are reopening in spite of lockdown orders. He responded that "the city and state are totally united on the approach to reopening."

"Anybody who reopens in defiance with state and city orders, of course we are going to enforce. If we have to we'll summons, if we have to we'll get a commissioner's order, and the place will not be allowed to be open in any way, shape or form," the mayor said.

Newsweek reached out to the mayor's office and the salon for further comments but did not hear back before publication.

 Daily Life In New York City Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
Commuters wearing face masks arrive in lower Manhattan after departing the Staten Island Ferry on May 27. Rob Kim/Getty