VACAVILLE (CBS13) — On Wednesday, a handful of people stood and sat waiting outside of Vacaville’s City Hall for a different kind of local politics, and it came in the form of a haircut.
“These next two days I’m just doing free haircuts just to show them it’s not going to happen. I’m not going to be bullied,” Juan Desmarais, the owner of Primo’s Barbershop, said.
Desmarais told CBS13 that on Monday he had received a notice from the state that his barber’s license had been suspended. After contacting the California Board Of Barbering and Cosmetology, a spokesperson told CBS13 that Desmarais’ license was temporarily suspended on October 29, 2020.
Desmarais has made headlines in the past few months for refusing to close down his barbershop in Vacaville despite previous state health orders.
“To be honest with you, I’m not surprised at the ruling either. We’re in the state of California. It was a state agency asking a state judge to take away state license. So, it’s pretty political and pretty stacked against me,” Desmarais said.
So, in a form of protest, he set up a barber’s chair and hair cutting equipment on one of the lawns of City Hall and began doing free haircuts.
“You can take away my license. You can’t take away my skill. You can’t take away my drive or my ability to provide for my family,” Desmarais said. “I’m going to provide for my family I don’t care what it takes.”
More from CBS Sacramento:
- ‘Blue Dots Spray-Painted In Front Of Several Roseville Homes With Biden-Harris Signs
- With Presidential Race Still Too Close To Call, Biden-Harris Launch Transition Website
- California Nov. 2020 General Election Results
A spokesperson for the California Department of Consumer Affairs told CBS13 in an email, “According to California state law, it is unlawful for a person to engage in barbering for compensation without a valid license. If someone is receiving tips for a service, that would be considered compensation. If someone is only providing a haircut and not receiving any type of compensation then that would not be a violation.”
Now, this barber is not asking for people to donate at these free haircuts. But, he told CBS13 that he is feeling supported by people in Vacaville.
“He’s doing what he feels is right. He’s got a family to feed. His other workers got families to feed,” Steve Best said.
“I think it’s really discriminatory the way that the state and the city and the counties; everything’s been handled. And, I’m objecting to it,” Joseph Abrew said.
This is the latest cut in an on-going dispute between Desmarais and the state amid the pandemic. But it’s a fight he isn’t backing away from.
“I’m going to continue to fight for it. I’m going to continue to provide for my family. I’m going to continue to be a solid member of this community,” Desmarais said.
In July, Desmarais told CBS13 he received about $12,000 in donations to pay potential fines during the first closure. But when they reopened, instead of putting that money toward his business, he said he donating the money to different charitable organizations.
Desmarais donated $6,497 to The Charge On Foundation. The foundation is in honor of fallen Vallejo officer James Capoot, who was an avid girls’ basketball coach. It makes $497 donations to athletes and other youth sports organizations. Capoot’s badge number was 497.
The money was also spread to Noah Coughlan who from Vacaville and does transcontinental runs to raise awareness for rare diseases with his organization Run 4 Rare.
Desmarais plans on seeking legal counsel to find out how or if he can get his license back.
The spokesperson from the California Department of Consumer Affairs said, “The suspensions will remain in effect while the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology pursues to revoke his license.”