TX Salon Owner Hits CPAC, Obliterates Government Tyrants Who Jailed Her Over COVID


Dallas salon owner Shelley Luther, who was jailed last year for reopening her shop amid a COVID-19 lockdown, has a message for small  business owners struggling to make ends meet: “Open your doors.”

“You are not doing anything illegal. And we want the community to back you like the community backed me. And that’s the only reason I’m standing here today. I had the backing of the nation,” Luther told The Western Journal at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida.

Luther became a standard-bearer of the movement to reopen small businesses across America when she was jailed by a judge for reopening last spring.

The owner of Salon À la Mode, Luther had seen her shop temporarily closed for violating an executive order that prohibited continued operation of so-called “nonessential” businesses until later this month, according to CBS DFW.

Unwilling to see her family or those of her employees go without amid the ongoing national emergency, though, Luther opened up shop early, operating with enhanced cleaning procedures and social distancing protocols in order to keep much-needed cash flowing in a responsible manner.

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Mounting pressure from local authorities, including a cease-and-desist order from Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, did not prevent Luther from keeping the lights on at Salon À la Mode.

In fact, the business owner eventually went viral for ripping up that order, to thunderous applause, at an “Open Texas” rally in front of Frisco City Hall on April 25.

Luther emphasized Friday that she is not forcing anyone to patronize her salon. Rather, she simply believes people ought to have the choice of whether to do so or not.

“For those people that are scared, I don’t want to belittle that. If you want to stay home, you’re more than welcome to. But we’re not forcing anyone to come in and get a haircut in our salon. We do love that people are coming to help our people feed their kids, which is — that’s what it’s really about, not a haircut. But people should stay home if they’re scared,” she said.

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Still, Luther’s actions did not earn her any friends in the Texas court system, with Dallas County Judge Eric Moye demanding a public apology for her actions in exchange for leniency.

Luther refused, and was sentenced to seven days in jail, in addition to being hit with a $7,000 fine.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott eventually modified his stay-at-home order so that confinement was no longer part of the potential suite of punishments, and Luther was released less than two days after her sentencing.

So what does the salon owner believe is the best way to deal with government overreach amid the COVID pandemic?

“We don’t need to create more laws. We need to follow the Constitution. It’s already there,” she said Friday. “So the government does not have the right to do what they’re doing right now. So we need the courts to make this public and say, ‘Stop doing what you’re doing.’

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“The government works for us. And right now it’s reversed. They think that they’re better than us and they do whatever they want and they need to realize that they are our employees, not the other way around.”

“Until these the courts decide that all of these mandates are unconstitutional and open everything back up, it’s going to be hard for [any small businesses] to survive.”

Despite insisting that she kept her business open so that her employees could put food on the table, Luther came under fire from those who accused her of contributing to COVID-19 deaths.

In her interview with The Western Journal, Luther fired back against what she sees as a double standard in how large businesses are treated compared to small businesses.

“There’s no way that is there’s no COVID in Home Depot, but there’s COVID in my salon,” she said.

“If you want to go out and about, you shouldn’t go one place and not the other because it may or may not have COVID. It just doesn’t make sense.”

And with countless small businesses ravaged by the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, Luther has a message for the American people at large as well: “I would say for all of America, shop small business as much as you possibly can. So those businesses that are on the brink of failure, we can help them and build them back up.”

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Joe Setyon was a deputy managing editor for The Western Journal who had spent his entire professional career in editing and reporting. He previously worked in Washington, D.C., as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine.
Joe Setyon was deputy managing editor for The Western Journal with several years of copy editing and reporting experience. He graduated with a degree in communication studies from Grove City College, where he served as managing editor of the student-run newspaper. Joe previously worked as an assistant editor/reporter for Reason magazine, a libertarian publication in Washington, D.C., where he covered politics and wrote about government waste and abuse.
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Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal. Having joined up as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, he went on to cover the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for the outlet, regularly co-hosting its video podcast, "WJ Live," as well.
Andrew J. Sciascia was the supervising editor of features at The Western Journal and regularly co-hosted the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."

Sciascia first joined up with The Western Journal as a regular contributor of opinion in 2018, before graduating with a degree in criminal justice and political science from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he served as editor-in-chief of the student newspaper and worked briefly as a political operative with the Massachusetts Republican Party.

He covered the Barrett confirmation and 2020 presidential election for The Western Journal. His work has also appeared in The Daily Caller.