Tanning salon fined after opening, defying orders


GREAT KILLS, Staten Island — A Staten Island tanning salon was fined and forced to close shortly after reopening Thursday, defying New York City and state coronavirus orders.

Robert Catone, owner of the Sunbelievable tanning salon, said he was going to open up shop because he believed he would be able to safely reopen and has met all CDC criteria.

Crowds gathered outside Catone’s Amboy Road tanning salon Thursday, including several Staten Island officials, Councilmember Joe Borelli and Assemblyperson Nicole Malliotakis, and called on state officials to allow the city to reopen.

“Here on Staten Island, we meet every metric set by the governor, but yet we are unable to move forward. People want to get back to their livelihoods. People want to get back to their jobs so they can feed their families,” Malliotakis said.

After reopening the business Thursday, police arrived and issued the owner a summons. Catone then told the media he received a call from the mayor’s office, threatening to take away his license and have the health department shut his business down if he continued operations. A spokeswoman for the mayor’s office disputed Cantone’s claim. She said no one from the city called the business.

“I’m in enough financial burden. I can’t have my license taken away and even make it even worse,” Cantone said.

Catone added he won’t stop fighting and will be prepared “for round two.”

Catone is one of the hundreds of small business owners that have been heavily affected by the pandemic.

Many of those local small business owners said they intend to open this month, with or without the government’s permission.

Nearly 300 business owners said they’d reopen and have pledged to wear masks, require customers to wear masks, provide sanitizing agents and gloves when necessary, limit foot traffic and comply with all recommended “essential business” social distancing guidelines.

De Blasio told businesses not to “jump the gun” and fines would be issued for businesses that fail to follow orders.

At least nine businesses have shut down in the last 48 hours, according to the mayor. If any are found to be in operation again, they will be fined.