Dallas woman gets 7 days in jail for refusing to close her hair salon

A Dallas salon owner who has refused to close her shop despite multiple court orders has now been sentenced to a week in jail. A judge on Tuesday called Shelley Luther’s open defiance of social distancing orders “flagrant and intentional” and said she felt no “remorse or regret” for her actions. 

According to court documents, Luther was sentenced to seven days in jail for violating a temporary restraining order to close her business and fined $500 each to the county’s criminal and civil courts for every day the salon remained open. She openly violated the governor’s stay-at-home order, an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus

Luther, the owner of Salon À la Mode and Hot Mess Enterprises, gained national attention for opening her salon in April after her city and county ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in March. She has said she opposed the stay-at-home order for financial reasons and publicly ripped up one of the court orders at a protest with more than 100 others. 

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins told Luther on Tuesday that he would consider a lighter sentence if she admitted that she was wrong and apologized to the elected officials whose orders she violated.

“I have much respect for this court and laws. I have never been in this position before and it’s not someplace that I want to be,” Luther responded, according to CBS Dallas Fort Worth. “But I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m 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 getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision but I am not going to shut the salon.”

Salon owner Shelley Luther outside her Salon A la Mode in Dallas on April 24, 2020.  LM Otero / AP

Court documents state that Luther’s employees violated social distancing guidelines by running the salon and interacting with customers. Luther insists her employees are entitled to their income and that she has kept her salon clean and safe for patrons. 

Luther was taken into custody and her attorney said he would immediately appeal the decision.

Governor Greg Abbott on Tuesday said hair salons, barbershops and nail salons can reopen on Friday, with proper social distancing guidelines. He also recommended that both employees and customers wear face masks.

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