Salon owners, businesses begin to defy shut-down orders to survive, government threatens to take licenses

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When it comes to determining what is “essential” and “non-essential,” you’re sure to get a strong argument from many women that beauty salons fall under the former.

And with solid demand for their services, and unpaid bills piling up, more and more salon owners are saying enough is enough when it comes to local and state authorities dictating when they can open their doors.

Shelly Luther, a salon owner in Dallas, drew a line in the sand last week. Behind on her mortgage and no Small Business Association funding in sight, Luther re-opened her business in violation of the stay-at-home order in Texas that has closed all non-essential businesses.

“I’m behind on my mortgage,” the mother of three said. “I know a lot of my stylists haven’t paid their mortgage. It’s either come in and make money to be able to feed your family or stay home and freak out.”

Upon opening Friday, local officials issued a citation and a cease and desist letter for going against a county order that prohibits her business from reopening, according to Fox 4 Dallas.

The defiant salon owner has said that if “push comes to shove,” she is willing to risk going to jail.

“I’m not closing,” Luther said. “Because all of the small business owners need to have some sort of voice, and we need to stand up for what’s right or we’ll continue to get our freedom taken away.”

Reading the cease and desist letter aloud, she said: “Note that a violation of this order during a pandemic may be punished criminally as a misdemeanor or enforced by civil action pursuant to the order.”

Breann Curtis, a salon owner in Auburn, Calif., has also reached her breaking point, as bills pile up and she faces collections.

Out of necessity, Curtis decided to defy the state’s stay-at-home order and reopen her business, Fox 40 Sacramento reported.

“I have to do what I have to do. I’m fighting to provide for my children and myself and my family right now,” she said.

“It’s been very hard. I’m pregnant. I have children at home,” Curtis added.

Saying she did 20 haircuts the day she reopened, Curtis said appointments are rolling in.

Tisha Fernhoff, a fellow salon owner in the same shopping plaza, also opened.

“How much longer am I supposed to go down the rabbit hole before I just throw in the towel and go back to work?” Fernhoff told FOX40.

Business owners understand there may be penalties for opening, but many are out of options and just trying to survive.

“[State leaders] need to do something. They need to help us to open up,” Curtis said. “People are losing their salons. People are losing their barbershops. People are losing their business. That’s going to affect the economy, hugely.”

In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp found himself under heavy fire when he did something.

On Friday, the Republican governor began officially reopening his state, allowing hair and nail salons to open — despite detailing specific precautions that businesses need to take, the criticism came quickly.

A defiant barber in Alabama was forced to take the extraordinary step of declaring, “I am not the outlaw.”

Joel Edwards, a frustrated Mobile barber, reopened Tuesday in defiance of orders and was quickly hit with a cease and desist order and fined $500, AL.com reported.

“I have worked my entire life to build what I have and I’m at risk of losing it,” Edwards stated. “I don’t have any money left. I have to come back to work and I’m not the only one. I’m part of the majority who [are] about to lose their livelihood.”

And while the good side of humanity showed its face, so too did the bad side.

A man who preferred to remain anonymous handed Edwards the $500 to pay the fine, according to AL.com.

Yet, despite having barber chairs six feet apart, and wearing a face mask and gloves, Edwards, his dad, and barber Justin Bouchard were all threatened on social media.

Bouchard, a former U.S. Army military police officer, canceled his appointments after receiving death threats.

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Tom Tillison

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