How Open Should We Be?

Salon Owner Jailed for Defying Court Order to Close Salon Strengthens the Reopen Texas Debate

Janie Wu, staff writer

On April 28, mother of two Shelley Luther decided to reopen her salon, Salon A La Mode, despite Governor Greg Abbott’s order to quarantine. She wanted to be able to feed her kids and not have to worry about money. In response, a cease and desist order was issued. She, in turn, ripped it to pieces in front of a cheering crowd at the Open Texas rally in Frisco.

The judge for her trial was Dallas County State District Judge Eric Moye. According to, he told Luther that he would consider no jail time if she apologized to the elected officials whose orders she violated and admitted that she was wrong. She responded that she did not believe trying to feed her kids was wrong. 

Because she refused to apologize, Judge Moye sentenced her to one week in jail and a $7,000 fine. 

Many felt that this was a harsh ruling, including Texas Attorney General Paxton, “I find it outrageous and out of touch during this national pandemic, a judge, in a county that actually released hardened criminals for fear of contracting COVID-19, would jail a mother for operating her hair salon in an attempt to put food on her family’s table. The trial judge did not need to lock up Shelley Luther. His order is a shameful abuse of judicial discretion, which seems like another political stunt in Dallas. He should release Ms. Luther immediately.”

However, Luther’s boyfriend, Tim Georgeoff admitted to the Dallas Morning News that they were far from starving when Shelley decided to reopen her salon. Her property is estimated to be worth half a million dollars and she owns many exotic pets. According to her social media, she owns six dogs, three ducks, eleven goats, lemurs,  a Bengal cat, and a wallaby.

Forty-eight hours after Luther was put in jail, the Texas Supreme Court overruled the order to put her in jail, and she was free to leave. Governor Abbott modified his stay at home order so that Texans could no longer be jailed for violating it. According to an report,  he now felt that, “We should not be taking these people and put them behind bars, these people who have spent their life building up a business,” Abbott told reporters in the Oval Office.

However there are some that disagree with his decision, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to be specific. He feels that “once you take the enforcement mechanism out of the order, you really don’t have an order anymore.”

Now, Luther has become the crusader for the Open Texas movement, people praising her and looking up to her left and right. She started a GoFundme page and has raised $500,000 as of May 7th. 

This, I find to be a little bit ridiculous. The order existed for a reason, to keep Texans safe from contracting the coronavirus. Just because a salon owner wanted to keep her business open should not be the reason why the order is modified. It should be enforced more forcefully. 

In fact, Judge Moye’s sentence was relatively lenient since the order allowed up to 180 days in jail for violations. 

She didn’t even need to reopen her shop, she was hardly struggling during this time. People need to stay at home to avoid infecting others.