APEX, N.C. (WNCN) – The owner of an Apex tattoo parlor was charged Wednesday after he opened his business, violating county and state orders issued during the coronavirus pandemic.

Apex police received complaints from community members that Matthew Myers, of Broadway was advertising on social media that he was going to open the Apex Tattoo Factory on Wednesday afternoon.

Under the state’s stay-at-home order, tattoo businesses are considered non-essential. Myers who’s attended the NC Re-Open protests believes something needs to change. 

Myers said he had to take a stand, he explained he’s running out of savings and worries he could lose his business. 

“Nobody is helping us,” he said.

It’s been four weeks since Myers was forced to close his tattoo stop. The married, father of three said he’s struggling to make ends meet.

“I got approved for unemployment yesterday. I’ve seen no money still, seven weeks, we’ve burned through all my savings,” he said.

A news release said officers reached out to him to discuss his plan and advise him that “opening without authorization would violate applicable North Carolina General Statutes.”

Officers then responded to the Apex Tattoo Factory around 1:25 p.m. Wednesday to find the business open.

Officers had a conversation with Myers and asked him to cease his operations. Police said he was generally understanding and cooperative, but refused to comply with the proclamation, the release said.

Apex Mayor Jacques Gilbert did as well.

“He has a heart for people, he’s demonstrated that for many years, of me knowing him which is another reason I want to reach back out to him and help him through this,” Mayor Gilbert said.

Myers posted to the tattoo parlor’s Facebook page on Tuesday detailing his struggles amid the stay-at-home order and said he planned on opening the business.

“My intent by opening up. I was never actually attending on tattooing anyone. It was in protest,” Myers explained.

The mayor said he understands the positions Myers and other small business owners are in. He’s looking to the future.

“See how we can move forward and get more of those businesses open in a safe, strategic manner,” Mayor Gilbert said.

Gov. Roy Cooper extended North Carolina’s stay-at-home order to May 8. Wake County on Wednesday signed a proclamation to follow the governor’s lead. The state has almost 10,000 positive COVID-19 cases.