STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. - Staten Island residents will soon be able to catch some rays at Sunbelievable tanning salon - even though Gov. Andrew Cuomo's order closing non-essential businesses has not yet been lifted in New York City.

"It’s not about me it’s about all these businesses any small business. We did what we had to do. We flattened the curve -- we demolished the curve actually in Staten Island. Why are we still closed?" said Bobby Catone, the salon's owner.

What You Need To Know

  • Gov. Cuomo's executive order is set to expire on May 28.

  • Small business owners, local officials: Staten Island meets 7 metrics NYS requires for any region to reopen.

  • One owner braces for possible police or Department of Health inspections; his lawyer says the case has no legal precedent.

  • Governor's office: any business found operating against state orders is subject to $10,000 fines.

Catone and his staff are busy preparing the salon for customers amid the threat of the coronavirus. 

The salon has added hand sanitizers, a plastic barrier at the front desk, and markers to promote social distancing.

Catone is bracing for the possibility of police or Health Department inspections and his lawyers, a pair of criminal defense attorneys, say they'll be ready.


They claim the case presents a question with no legal precedent.

"It’s not that we are required by law to stay closed because there is no law. It’s an executive order. Laws are passed through the legislative process nothing was passed through the legislative process this was an edict," said Mark Fonte, a criminal defense attorney.

"Those emergencies and those declarations are supposed to be very short-lived and very narrowly construed. Here in New York City in New York State these powers have extended well beyond any constitutional limits," said Lou Gelormino, a criminal defense attorney.

Local officials and small business owners have called on Cuomo to allow Staten Island to reopen independent of the city. They say the borough has met the seven metrics the state requires for any region to reopen.

Cuomo shot down that idea Monday, saying Staten Island is not an island unto itself but linked to the other boroughs in many ways.


Catone says he and the other business owners should be trusted.

"We’re not gonna put our customers in jeopardy and if the customers don’t wanna come don’t come you don’t have to. Just because we open the doors, we’re not kicking you in there," Catone said.

The governor's office tells NY1 a business found operating against state orders is in violation of public health law and can be punished by fines of up to $10,000. 

Sunbelievable will begin offering appointments to members only on Wednesday. Thursday, its owner is planning a support rally in time for when the salon reopens its doors.



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