Barber closes up shop after state board’s warning

Steve Betts’ week began with a haircut for a Plumas County supervisor and ended with a Facebook post saying his business would be closed until further notice.

Betts, proprietor of East Quincy Barbershop, defied the governor’s stay-at-home order and opened his business last Monday, April 27. Betts said his constitutional rights superseded the order and District 5 Supervisor Jeff Engel, a staunch advocate of small business, wanted to show his support by being among the first to get a haircut.

That prompted three visits from the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office and ultimately a citation for violating Government Code section 8665, which states that anyone who “refuses or willfully neglects” to obey a lawful order could face six months in jail or a $1,000 fine.

Following the citation, which he received April 30, Betts said, “It’s going to be business as usual.”

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But that decision only lasted until the following evening, May 1, when the California State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology released the following statement: “The Board urges licensees to follow the stay at home orders. If businesses continue to put public health and safety at risk by not following the guidance provided, and if circumstances warrant it, the Board may pursue disciplinary action against their license. This will not be taken lightly.”

That prompted Betts to issue the following statement on Facebook: “After a week that I will never forget, State Board of Barbering and Cosmetology dropped a bomb shell Friday evening. While I may be a stubborn s.o.b. I’m not stupid. I will not risk getting my license revoked and not be able to work in my industry and lose everything I’ve worked so hard for. I regret to inform everybody that the shop will be closed until further notice. I will be on the phone first thing tomorrow to get clarification on some things and decide what my next move is. The fight is not over until we are back up and running. I would like to thank everybody for the countless calls, texts and emails from great people voicing their support. It means the world to me and makes all a little easier to deal with.”

There is still the matter of the citation. District Attorney David Hollister said the citation remains, but he is hopeful that work can be done with the state board so that Betts’ license isn’t jeopardized.