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Stories of Resistance: Seattle-Area Businesses Defy Governor’s New Orders

After Governor Inslee announced a statewide 4-week shutdown on Monday, many Seattle-area businesses are saying that they do not plan to comply.

Governor Jay Inslee announced on Sunday that the state would be entering a 4-week shutdown, in many ways similar to the shutdown that lasted from March through the end of May.

The lockdown prohibits private gatherings with members outside one’s own household, and greatly restricts business operations for bars and restaurants, gyms and fitness centers, and retail and grocery stores.

Business owner Brandon Sweeney, however, plans on keeping the doors to his guy open. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” he told KOMO News. “If they want to come in here and sue me or fine me (well) we are out of money already. What are they going to take?”

Another shutdown, Sweeney said, would put him out of business for good.

It was just a short three weeks ago that Sweeney opened Rowdy Box, a boxing gym in Seattle.

Even after pushback, Rowdy Box stood by their decision to remain open in an Instagram post earlier today:

“2020 has taken so much away from everyone,” they wrote. “Jobs, businesses, life experiences and even life altogether. This is why we chose to keep our doors open. Not to ‘fight the man,’ not to bring in heaps of revenue (trust us…that’s not happening this year) and most definitely not to hurt our community. Quite the opposite. We know that our health – both mental and physical – is on the line…”

Under Inslee’s new orders, gyms are prohibited from continuing indoor operations, and outdoor operations are limited to a maximum of 5 people.

Barber Bob Martin of Snohomish County defied the state’s first lockdown in the spring, and plans to continue doing so this second time around.

Martin, a veteran of the Marine Corps, has already been fined tens of thousands of dollars for his defiance, and faces the possibility of losing his barber’s license. He says he hasn’t paid a single penny and that he’s still in business.

In August, Martin told Dori Monson on Kiro Radio that it was all about defending Constitutional rights.

“I have my U.S. Constitution and the good Lord looking out for me. I’m not worried about anything else. They’re not going to get a dime out of me.”

And like New York sheriffs reassuring their citizens that they won’t be enforcing Governor Cuomo’s Thanksgiving restrictions, the Bellevue Police Department does not plan to issue citations or arrest anyone in violation of Inslee’s newest orders.

“We do not want to make this a criminal matter,” said police officer Andrew Popochock. “We want to make this an educational process.”

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has said the same: “These new statewide restrictions – similar to previous mandates regarding wearing masks and staying at home – are public health and safety measures. They are not a mandate for law enforcement to detain, cite, or arrest violators; it is an evidence based and safety focused directive meant to slow the spread of a potentially deadly disease.”

According to KOMO News, “there’s been little – if any – enforcement of the previous COVID-19 restrictions issued in Washington state.”

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