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Olympia business owner encourages other companies to defy stay-home orders

Peter Diaz is still running his business and wants other companies to challenge Gov. Inslee's stay-at-home coronavirus orders.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The tree-trimming business is currently prohibited in Washington state under Gov. Jay Inslee's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" order. Tree-trimmers may only operate to remove limbs or trees that are threatening people or structures. 

While some companies are rejecting orders, at least one tree-trimming company is conducting business as usual. 

Peter Diaz owns Commercial and Home Expert Tree Service out of Olympia and has no plans to pause operations. 

“We haven’t stopped working,” Diaz said. “Our livelihoods and our freedoms are essential.”

Diaz said he is not worried about getting in trouble.

“Give me the fine. We’ll burn it,” said Diaz. “Then we'll go ahead and take this to the Supreme Court of the United States."

Diaz said he found a workaround to the state orders. He has been selling some of the trees he’s cut down since the stay-at-home order was put in place in March.

“We’ll sell that as firewood,” said Diaz.

He said that makes him a timber operation, an industry considered “essential” by the governor.

Diaz made signs to encourage other businesses, like barbershops, to also resume operations. 

"Open your doors! We, the people, have the power," Diaz said. "They have no right or power to shut us down!"

Inslee has said businesses that ignore his order could lose their business licenses or face criminal charges.

The order was originally set to expire Monday, May 4, but Inslee said he expects to extend the order during an announcement on Friday, May 1.

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