Governors and state legislatures around the nation are beginning ease the restrictions once placed on their constituents regarding social distancing and COVID-19, but for some it is not soon enough.
In Texas, a state that was widely considered to be one of the earlier states to relax their guidelines, one salon owner is now facing seven days behind bars for reopening just days before the Governor outlined.
A Dallas salon owner will spend a week in jail after she was found in contempt of court Tuesday for violating an order to close her salon during the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, Shelley Luther was fined $7,000 for continuing to operate her business, Salon à la Mode, in violation of a judge’s temporary restraining order issued against the business.
In a hearing broadcast live on YouTube on Tuesday, Luther said she had no choice but to open her business.
She said she hadn’t earned income since the county’s stay-at-home order was set in March. She applied for one of the federal loans aimed at helping small businesses but didn’t receive it until Sunday, she testified.
“I couldn’t feed my family, and my stylists couldn’t feed their families,” Luther testified, holding a phone to her face from the witness stand so the court reporter could hear her through a mask.
Before issuing his ruling, Moyé gave Luther an opportunity to apologize and promise not to reopen her salon until she was allowed to do so, saying he would consider levying only a fine “in lieu of the incarceration which you’ve demonstrated that you have so clearly earned.”
Luther wasn’t having it, and chose to make a stand.
“Feeding my kids is not selfish,” she told Moyé. “If you think the law is more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision, but I am not going to shut the salon.”
The sentence came within hours of an announcement by Texas Governor Greg Abbott stating that salons and barbershops in The Lone Star State could reopen on Friday.
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