Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther was sentenced to a week in jail and fined $7,000 for criminal and civil contempt Tuesday for reopening her business, Salon à la Mode, early and in defiance of a court order and Governor Greg Abbott's stay-at-home rules.
At her hearing, Dallas County Judge Eric Moyé asked her to admit that her decision to reopen was "selfish," and told her to apologize.
Luther was unrepentant, explaining that she reopened on April 24 because she hadn't earned income since the county's stay-at-home order was set in March, and that she applied for a federal PPP loan but hadn't received the aid until Sunday. She also explained that she was operating her business at reduced capacity and with a number of new safety protocols in place to protect staff and customers.
"I couldn't feed my family, and my stylists couldn't feed their families," Luther said.
"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. 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 you decision but I am not going to shut the salon."
Luther was taken into custody immediately after the hearing and booked into the Dallas County jail just after 4:30 p.m., where there are currently 248 inmates who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz weighed in on the judge's decision Tuesday evening, calling it "NUTS":
7 days in jail for cutting hair?? This is NUTS. And government officials don't get to order citizens to apologize to them for daring to earn a living.
Luther had received a cease-and-desist letter from a Dallas County judge last week, ordering her to close the salon, and she publicly tore it up at a demonstration.
Gov. Abbott decreed Tuesday that all salons may reopen on Friday, at which point Luther will be legally allowed to open her business.