Salon owner sentenced to a week in jail for reopening despite COVID orders

By IVAN PEREIRA, ABC News

(DALLAS) — A Dallas salon owner who repeatedly defied orders to shut down her business in compliance with state coronavirus executive orders was sentenced to a week in jail Tuesday.

Dallas Civil District Judge Eric Moyé criticized Shelly Luther for keeping her business, Salon a la Mode, open last week despite a citation, a cease and desist letter and a restraining order. During the hearing, Luther admitted that her business was still open partially, and the judge scolded her for blatantly disobeying the law meant to protect residents.

“The rule of law governs us. People cannot take it upon themselves to determine what they will and will not do,” he said during the hearing.

Gov. Greg Abbott had nonessential businesses close all of April as the pandemic spread throughout the state. Last weekend, he lifted restrictions on select businesses, including restaurants and malls, and on Tuesday he said hair and nail salons will be allowed to open on Friday with restrictions on the number of customers.

Luther, who has participated in several protests against the governor’s orders and publically ripped the cease and desist letter, kept her salon open for more than a week after she was issued the restraining order. She told the judge she didn’t regret her actions and would continue to keep her salon open.

“If you think the law’s more important than kids getting fed, then please go ahead with your decision, but I am not going to shut the salon,” she said.

Moyé, who had to tell Luther to stop interrupting him, sentenced the owner to seven days in jail and ordered her to pay a fine of at least $3,500.

Luther’s attorney didn’t immediately return messages for comment to ABC News. He told reporters he would appeal the decision.

Dallas is the second-highest Texas county with COVID cases, 4,623, according to data from the state and the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The county has seen 121 deaths, according to the data.

State health officials said Tuesday there were signs the virus was spreading as there were 33,369 cases across Texas, which was a 1,937 jump from Monday, and 906 COVID fatalities, an increase of 22 from Monday.

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