Juan Desmarais, the owner of Primo's Barbershop in Vacaville, a Northern California suburb, told CNN he has shifted to cutting his clients' hair at his house.
CNN  — 

Despite California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home-order, some California business owners have begun reopening their doors to customers, saying their companies – and livelihoods – are becoming unsustainable.

Juan Desmarais, the owner of Primo’s Barbershop in Vacaville, a Northern California community, told CNN he was forced to close his business after the statewide stay-at-home order went into effect on March 19.

“I took on the risk so I’m the one who is absorbing the costs,” Desmarais said. “The only way to mitigate that is to do haircuts under the table and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.”

Desmarais says he’s shifted entirely to cutting his clients’ hair at his house but is still required to pay rent for his shop that is temporarily shut down.

He said his employees are also continuing to cut hair to make a living – mostly inside their living rooms and garages.

“Why would you want to move an industry that has an expertise in sanitation and force us to go to our homes and cut around our kids or cut around your kids,” Desmarais said. “Every single barber has to do 1,600 hours of sanitary classroom work for the state of California and that means we’re cleanliness experts.

“This is ridiculous,” he said.

Despite possible repercussions and a $1,000 fine for violating the stay-at-home order, Desmarais said he plans to “keep his hustle going” in order to provide for his family during this challenging time.

‘We’re trying our best to stay afloat’

Although government assistance has been made available on state and local levels, the system of dispersing funds has not been without its flaws.

Large companies have been offered coronavirus hardship assistance while owners of small businesses tell CNN they’re waiting in the wings for support.

“We’re trying our best to stay afloat,” Breann Curtis, the owner of Clip Cage hair salon in Placer County told CNN. “We had to open the shop because our families are depending on us.”

A Sacramento-area gym owner shared a similar story with his employees and customers Wednesday.

Sean Covell, the CEO of Fitness System, announced he will reopen three of his fitness clubs beginning May 1 under the guidelines that the CDC has handed down.

“Business owners have been called ‘killers’ for trying to provide for their employees and families,” Covell said in a letter. “Today, we aim to make sure these violations of our humanity never happen again.”

Brian Chavez-Ochoa,Covell’s attorney, told CNN that everyone at the fitness centers has been instructed to comply with lawful orders if they are told to halt business operations again.

However, he believes another forced closure would be an unconstitutional violation of the owner’s rights.

“There have been statements made that any businesses that (defy the order) could have their business license pulled, their electricity turned off, and things of that nature.” Chavez-Ochoa said. “If they take steps that prevent him from opening up, we’ll seek redress in the federal court.”

In North Carolina, a tattoo shop owner was arrested

Meanwhile, a tattoo shop owner was arrested in Apex, North Carolina, for violating a county proclamation and opening his shop, the the Apex Police Department said in a news release.

According to the release, Wake County is under a proclamation of emergency restrictions until April 30, which prohibits all businesses not identified as essential to remain closed.

The department said it received complaints that the Apex Tattoo Factory had begun advertising on social media that they’d be reopening April 29. Police reached out to the business owner, Matthew Myers, who said he’d be opening despite the county’s proclamation, according to the release.

Officers responded to the business around 1:25 p.m on Wednesday and found it open, the release said. Myers refused to close the establishment and was arrested on charges of Violation of Emergency Prohibitions and Restrictions.

A post on the tattoo shop’s Facebook post references Myers’ arrest and makes complaints about the economic impact of the government rules. CNN has reached out to Myers for comment on the arrest. It’s unknown if he has an attorney.

“I’m hoping that this will inspire other people to do the same because as one person – you can arrest one person, but if all the businesses in Apex open the day after today, you’re not going to arrest all those people,” he told CNN affiliate WRAL in an interview before his arrest.

“I’m a law-abiding citizen. I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m not endangering lives, I’m trying to support my family,” he said.