Police interrupt business owner as she was selling items on Facebook Live
A small business owner who had to close her nonessential business says that she has had several run-ins with police while she tried to make some money.
The latest incident came while Katherine Hermes was conducting a shop-from-home-style Facebook Live video from her Country Home store in downtown Bernardsville. Hermes and a friend were inside the store – both not wearing masks – showing off the products to viewers who can purchase them online. Police showed up around 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
Police told Hermes that it had to be closed after 8 p.m. and that she and her friend needed to have masks on.
(The incident with police begins at 1 hour, 56 minutes)
Hermes defied the executive order forcing her to close when she opened her store to customers last Saturday.
“I was defiant and the police chief was very respectful and I understand what he’s saying and he understands what I’m saying,” she says. “It’s a difficult situation for everybody. But we have flattened the curve. The crisis is over.”
Bernardsville Police Chief Kevin Valentine says that Hermes was warned once and that on Tuesday an officer saw another customer inside the store. Hermes says that this customer was only there to pick up an item.
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“She was not given a summons. She was warned to not open her business, to allow people inside and she chose not to do it, subsequently,” Valentine says.
Hermes says that even when nonessential businesses are allowed to reopen once again, she will not survive. She says that the loses have been too much for her to overcome.
“I am closing. I don’t know if I can be out of here by the end of this month. But I will be out of her by the end of next month,” she says. “We can’t take disease away. We can hate them, but we can’t make them go away and we can’t legislation them away by destroying businesses.”
Chief Valentine says that a complaint was filed against Hermes and sent to the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office for having a customer inside the store.
The incident with Hermes’s Facebook Live is under review by the Bernardsville Police Department.