Shelley Luther sentenced: Dallas Salon A La Mode owner gets 7 days jail for her defiance to remain open despite Texas stay at home restrictions.
At what cost self preservation vs the needs of the community?
A Texas hair salon owner who refused to close her business despite stay-at-home restrictions and repeated court orders amid the coronavirus pandemic has been sentenced to seven days jail.
Shelley Luther, the owner of Salon a la Mode in Dallas, appeared in court on Tuesday where she was sentenced to seven days behind bars and $7,000 – $500 for each day she opened her business’ doors.
Gov. Greg Abbott‘s started phase one of Texas re-openings last week, but did not allow salons to resume business. A defiant Luther who claims her constitutional rights were infringed upon decided to open up regardless – despite the ongoing public health crises and claims that she had put her own ‘selfish interests’ ahead of the community.
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Contrition vs the need to feed to oneself and fellow workers:
Dallas County Judge Eric Moyé during sentencing found Luther in criminal and civil contempt of court and told her she owed local leaders an apology.
He gave her the opportunity to admit fault and offered to commute her sentence if she apologized for ‘being seflsh’, but Luther continued to maintain that she’d done nothing wrong.
‘I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I am selfish because feeding my kids is not selfish. I have hair stylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So sir, if you think the law is more important than kids being fed, then please go ahead with your decision. But I’m not going to shut the salon,’ she said before the judge.
If the salon continues to operate, the judge ordered Luther to pay $500 each day through May 8, which is when Texas will allow salons and barbershops to reopen.
‘The defiance of the court’s order was open, flagrant and intentional,’ Moyé wrote in his decision. ‘The defendants, although having been given an opportunity to do so, have expressed no contrition, remorse or regret for their contemptuous action.’
Luther had received multiple citations for opening her business on April 24.
On April 24 she received a cease and desist letter from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
She received a court-issued temporary restraining order on April 28 mandating she close her business.
Posted by Shelley Luther on Wednesday, April 29, 2020
No alternative but to stay open?
Last week on Wednesday Luther shared a Facebook Live video saying she intended to remain fully open and that it was her right to.
‘I’m still here, I’m standing for your rights and Salon A La Mode is open for business,’ she said.
The mandate follows the Dallas hair salon owner’s complaint that she had no alternative but to open her business or risk starvation and ruin. It remained unclear what state or federal subsidies the self employed entrepreneur had been availed of, if anything.
Addressing concerns that workers and customers risked passing the deadly bug to others, Luther maintained her salon, ‘is a safe and clean environment,’ that doesn’t pose a threat in spreading COVID-19.
‘I can’t afford to not stay open, and my stylists can’t afford to stop working anymore,’ Luther said to ABC13 over the weekend. ‘We’re about to lose everything and haven’t gotten any help, so I had to make a decision.’
There have been widespread protests to lockdown measures in Texas, with hundreds calling on Gov. Abbott to full open the state despite his incremental opening plan.
As of Wednesday morning there had been 34,269 cases of COVID-19 and 961 deaths in Texas.