Defying the order

Published 11:21 am Thursday, May 14, 2020

Columbus barbershop opens despite Governor’s order

COLUMBUS—After being closed for 6 weeks, a Columbus barbershop owner defied the Governor’s orders and opened his door to customers this week.

Paul’s Barbershop, located in downtown Columbus, opened despite North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order for beauty salons and barbershops to remain closed because of COVID-19.

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Paul’s Barbershop owner Paul Heyer said he had no other choice but to open as he has applied for unemployment every week with no response. He said he’s made over 400 phone calls and never spoken to anyone.

“I’m not trying to be a rebel and go against Governor Cooper but I’ve got to make a living,” he said Wednesday.

Heyer was shown on the news Wednesday with both he and a customer wearing masks and said he is taking every precaution and sanitizing after every customer. He is also only allowing one customer in his shop at a time. He said he was busy on Wednesday and had probably cut about 20 people’s hair. He also said he feels like his customers are safer in his shop than they are at Walmart.

Heyer also took other precautions prior to opening, saying he contacted the barber board, where he has his license. He said the board responded that if he decided to reopen against the state’s order, it would have nothing to do with the barber board and they would not take his license.

The Bulletin asked the Columbus Police Department how they have responded to Heyer going against the state’s order.

Columbus Police Chief Scott Hamby has given Heyer 2 verbal warnings but said he will not do anything else.

District Attorney Greg Newman said people can call the governor’s office if they do not like it but his office is not going to criminalize men and women who want to make a living. Newman said his office will not prosecute business owners and he is telling local law enforcement the same.

“I find it appalling that somebody would call and try to report somebody for opening a business,” Newman said to news reporters on Wednesday regarding the barbershop reopening.