Bobby Catone, owner of Sunbelievable on Amboy Road in Great Kills, said he should be allowed to reopen because he believes the borough has already met the CDC metrics required for reopening.
He posted a banner reading "All Businesses Are Essential" across the front of his tanning salon and was joined by dozens of protesters in advance of his civil disobedience.
He said shortly after he opened his doors, police issued him a summons and threatened to take him to jail before warning him the health department would revoke his license.
He decided to comply, but he says he feels like he made his point with the theme, "Fight to unleash Staten Island."
New York City Councilman Joe Borelli was one of the speakers, after saying he had looked forward to being the first customer.
Those in attendance said the curve has been flattened and it's time to get back to business, but that the reopening plan is murky with no exit strategy.
"They keep pushing back the goalpost," Catone said. "We don't know what to do. What do you do? At some point, you're willing to stand up. What's the alternative? You either shut down until question mark, or you fight."
But according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city is not making exceptions.
"I'm not into free agents," he said. "I'm not into people deciding that they get to make the rules and they can do something everyone else can't do. Any business that attempts to open that should not yet be open, we're going to go, we're going to tell them, 'Shut down right now.'"
The mayor said the city is a week to two weeks away from entering Phase 1 of reopening, but Catone said non-essential businesses want a definitive date and that he is not done fighting.
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