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Snohomish barber openly defying stay-home order receives cease and desist letter

A Snohomish barber that openly defied Washington’s stay-home order said his barbershop will remain open after receiving a cease and desist letter from the state.

SNOHOMISH, Wash. — A Snohomish barber who openly defied Gov. Jay Inslee's “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order received a cease and desist letter last week. However, Bob Martin told KING 5 on Wednesday that he's keeping his business open and won't comply.

Martin, who has operated 'The Stag Barbershop' in the same location in Snohomish for 51 years, initially closed his shop to comply with Inslee's stay-home order. After having to use his social security check to pay rent after closing, Martin said he began taking in customers after hours to help pay bills.

Martin told KING 5's Eric Wilkinson that he was emboldened to fully reopen after Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney announced he would not enforce the governor's stay-home order, calling it "unconstitutional."

RELATED: Snohomish barber openly defies Washington's stay-home orders

"I don't agree with the order," Martin said earlier this month. "I think it should be lifted because it's not as dangerous as people want to make us believe that it is."

Between May 1-5, Assistance Attorney General Michelle Carr said around 165 complaints were filed notifying the state that Martin was violating the stay-home order by keeping his business open.

According to the temporary cease and desist order, Martin was sent an email notice on May 4 and May 5 informing him that he was in violation of Gov. Inslee’s order. 

An investigator with the Washington State Department of Licensing conducted a “no contact site visit” on May 5 and May 6 and “observed The Stab Barber Shop open for business,” documents show.

RELATED: Seattle hairstylist wants reopening of salons, barbershops delayed to Phase 4

In March, Gov. Inslee said the state will penalize non-essential businesses that stay open in violation of the order. Hair salons and barbershops are currently considered non-essential businesses and are not allowed to open until Phase 2 of Gov. Inslee’s “Safe Start Washington” plan to reopen the economy.

"The state is going to take action," including citations and revoking business licenses, Gov. Inslee said during the March press conference. "Taking people to court is the very last thing that will be considered and should not be necessary under any conditions for folks who really value the health of their loved ones and respect for everyone in our community."

Gov. Inslee's stay-home order has been extended until at least May 31, something Martin said is putting small businesses across this state at risk of never reopening.

"The governor shouldn't be overstepping his bounds to keep people from making a livelihood," Martin said. "I think Inslee ought to be listening to Trump instead of acting like a dictator."

VIEW: Coronavirus coverage from KING 5