Dallas salon owner gets 7 days in jail for reopening during coronavirus lockdown

A judge had harsh words for Shelley Luther, owner of Salon À la Mode, and its corporate entity, Hot Mess Enterprises, calling the move "flagrant and intentional."
Image: Shelley Luther
Shelley Luther said desperation pushed her into her decision to open Salon À la Mode on Friday, May 1, 2020, despite having received a cease-and-desist order.KXAS

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By David K. Li

A Dallas salon owner was sentenced to seven days behind bars Tuesday for disobeying coronavirus shutdown orders, doing business well ahead of even the aggressive reopening plans in Texas.

Dallas County Judge Eric Moye held Shelley Luther, owner of Salon À la Mode, and her corporate entity, Hot Mess Enterprises, in criminal and civil contempt.

Shelley Luther.Dallas County Sheriff's Dept.

Moye cited "the refusal of the defendants to cease operation of the salon, despite the clear and unambiguous language of the order."

"The defiance of the court's order was open, flagrant and intentional. The defendants, although having been given an opportunity to do so, have expressed no contrition, remorse or regret for their contemptuous action."

Hair and nail salons are eligible to reopen Friday in Texas, where there have been at least 33,369 cases of coronavirus and 906 deaths, according to state data posted late Tuesday afternoon. In Dallas County, there have been at least 4,370 cases and 114 deaths.

Moye remanded Luther to the custody of Dallas County sheriff's deputies to serve seven days.

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A defiant Luther, who faces at least $3,500 in fines, argued that she was trying to prevent her children and employees from "going hungry," NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported.

"I have to disagree when you say I'm selfish, because feeding my kids is not selfish," Luther said. "I have hair stylists going hungry because they'd rather feed their kids. If you think law is more important than kids being fed, go ahead with your decision. But I'm not going to shut the salon."

There was no answer at Luther's salon Tuesday afternoon.