Businesses Without Options Defy Closing Orders

Businesses Without Options Defy Closing Orders

Businesses Without Options Defy Closing Orders

Desperate to support their families and life’s work, owners of small businesses defy state closure orders. They risk criminal punishment and fines, but are steadfast that they have no alternative.

It starts off sounding like a joke, “A barber, two hairdressers, and a restauranteur walk into a courthouse…” but these four people in two states share an uncommon trait. Bravery in the face of certain punishment. They know the risk is real, and are doing the hard thing in spite of the danger.

California barbershop “Clip Cage” owner Breann Curtis says it best to FOX 40 Sacramento,

I have to do what I have to do. I’m fighting to provide for my children and myself and my family right now …. It’s been very hard. I’m pregnant. I have children at home,”

Business neighbor, Tisha Fernhoff- who runs the Beauty Bar Salon, told FOX 40,

They need to do something. They need to help us to open up. People are losing their salons…. their barbershops. People are losing their business. That’s going to affect the economy, hugely,

FOX 40 continues,

Curtis said she worries about the penalty for opening shop before the stay-at-home order is lifted but said business owners like her are simply out of options. She said she hopes state leaders will understand they are just trying to survive.

What Businesses Are in Violation?

In addition to the California business owners in the video, there is a hairdresser in Dallas and a restauranteur in Houston. Four people who own businesses on the brink. What are they thinking to defy the state orders and mandates demanding closure of  businesses deemed “non-essential”? Hmm, could it be that they want to feed their families? Keep open the place that fulfilled their dreams? Pay their employees and help their neighbors? Does it matter what their motivation is for wanting to keep their business open? No. It just matters that they are doing it.

A Dallas Decision

Shelley Luther is a hairdresser. She owns a shop in Dallas, and is re-opening despite orders mandating she remain closed. On Friday, the city police issued her a citation to appear in court, yet she is adamant about remaining open. She says to NBCDFW,

We have the constitutional right to be able to work to provide for our families, to pay our mortgages and I don’t feel it’s right to close us down for this long period of time,

She continues,

I don’t want anyone to get hurt or anyone to get sick. I feel like if people want to stay home, they can stay home. If they need government assistance, I’m all for that,” she said. “No one is forcing my tenants, no one is forcing any clients to come in if they don’t want to. It is their personal choice as an American to come into the salon if they want to and they have that right.”

Shelley is correct, we do have constitutional rights. We also have the right to secure our fortunes. Shelley has three jobs in addition to operating her small business, but hasn’t worked in almost 6 weeks. She has applied for small business loans and unemployment, but received neither. Overall, Shelley has about $35,000 and three years invested in her salon,

If I lose it, I have no savings,” she said.

If it Weren’t for Bad Options, Shelley Would Have No Options

What is she supposed to do? There is rent due on her business, and she is borrowing from friends to keep her shop afloat until she can stay open. Shelley is a woman without easy options, defy the order and potentially risk life altering ramifications, or follow the order and lose everything she’s worked for and built? It’s an obvious choice. But one that politicians, with salaries paid by taxes, never have to worry about.

Police and city officials showed up on Friday and gave Shelley a citation with summons to appear before a judge. Reading the summons 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.

Best of luck to you Shelley, and thank you for standing up.

Socially Distant Dining in Houston

Matt Brice owns two Houston area restaurants, and in defiance of a Judicial order, plans on Friday open “Federal Grill“. The mandated closures have so far cost him hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial loss, and employees who aren’t receiving pay. He talks to CultureMap about his rationale for opening table service,

I think constitutionally it shouldn’t be the way it is,” he says. “We should be able to open very responsibly. How is it that . . . you can walk into a Walgreens with 30, 40, 50 people in there? Why can they open? Why can’t we? They can either shut everything down or don’t.”

Culture Map writes,

… he adds that he’s received permission to proceed from the mayor of Hedwig Village, the tiny city where his restaurant is located. The mayor, as well as officials from other communities in the Memorial villages, are all planning to dine at Federal Grill on Friday night, Brice says.”

Matt’s dining-in precautions include, single use items, 30% capacity, masks on all servers, and sanitizing areas between patrons. His plan seems a heck of a lot cleaner than my trip today to Home Depot, where 1/3 of the employees were embracing the spirit of masking, but not the correct application of wearing a mask. I didn’t mind, because I was doing the same thing. I am confident that the Federal Grill is the clear winner for cleanliness.

Small Business Got Loans, What’s the Rush to Reopen?

We know the last round of PPP is immersed in crony scandal. Chase put through loans for big money businesses before the myriad of small businesses who applied. I know people who submitted at the first available time, then were told to sit on ice while their loan was “processing.” Only to find out that large account holder requests were pushed through days before the application officially opened. Breann, Tisha, Matt, and Shelley never stood a chance. The New York Times reports,

Customers of Citi’s private bank, where the minimum account size is $25 million, didn’t have to use an online portal to apply for a loan; they could simply submit paperwork to their banker, who would put in an application on their behalf. At Chase, the nation’s largest bank, nearly all private and commercial banking clients who applied for a small-business loan got one, whereas only one out of every 15 retail banking customers who sought loans was successful.”

Now we are on round 4, and do we expect anything different?  For Breann, Tisha, Shelley, Matt, and all the other small business owners trying to scrape by… I certainly hope so.

Thank You Sarah Hoyt, and welcome to our Instapundit readers!

Featured Image: Pixabay License: CC-BY 2.0 Image Cropped:400×400


Written by

"CC" to her friends. Recent escapee from Northern VA to the Great State of Texas. I'm a Pro-LIfe, Pro-Gun, Libertarian type... There is very little that fresh lime juice and good tequila can't fix.

  • Scott says:

    Hmm.. I wonder why the ACLU isn’t rushing to defend these people.. seems like these situations are EXACTLY what they claim to be about…

    Ooh, that’s right,the American Communist Lawyers Union only defends people on their side of the ideological spectrum…

  • rbj1 says:

    Jury trials. I doubt there will be any convictions.

  • Maureen from Regina says:

    I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am – the ignorance of government bureaucrats around business, particularly small and medium sized business is astounding. In our province, the government is going to let restaurants open, but they must observe social distancing – meaning that they can only operate at half full. Restaurants at the best of times have small, small profit margins; they need a full house every Friday and Saturday evening from opening to closing to make money and they need the bar full the rest of the week. With the new opening restrictions, they may open, if only to keep them visible to their customers – they will unlikely be making any money and might be losing money.

    Same with small stores -before the close down, I was in a women’s clothing store – there was me, two sales clerks and maybe two other customers – I would be surprised if they got more than 20 people a day in the store (but even if only half of those 20 bought something, they were probably making money). So that store had to close, but here in my Canadian province, the liquor stores (mainly government run) were open. True it is probably the only source of revenue for the government these days, but still it makes no sense. Since when is liquor essential?

    • Here in Texas liquor stores are essential, and the truth of the matter is somewhat sad. People with alcohol dependency will go into DT’s after sudden alcohol withdraw. In fact, when someone with long term alcoholism is “drying out” they should be medically supervised. Acute alcohol withdrawal will kill them. What I don’t understand is that I can go to Home Depot, Lowes, Wal-Mart, Target and browse the aisles. Why didn’t the government mandate they are only allowed to do on-line ordering and curbside pick-up? I mean it’s not as though I need to see exactly what mass produced machined water heater goes in my house. They are by design identical in from and function. Small businesses were told to close. No curbside delivery (clothing stores etc) as an option, just shut the doors.
      There was no logic and a lot of money involved in these decisions.

      • GWB says:

        I’m going to disagree with you on the building supply stores. The water heaters (and other items) are NOT all identical. And, unfortunately, the home supply store websites leave a LOT to be desired. (Heck, MOST stores’ sites are abominable, if they have a brick and mortar store. Unless, of course, you create an account….)

        But, then again, I don’t think ANY of them should have been forced to close. (At least, not without a 5th Amendment compensation arriving before they closed their doors.)

        • SDN says:

          Wal-Mart’s is bad enough that I rarely bother with it at this point. As I put it to their feedback, “The relationship between what the website says is available, what the pickers actually find, and what I can find myself in the store if I visit within 30 minutes of being told what I want isn’t there is essentially zero.”

      • DM says:

        All the closures and even the imposition of quasi martial law are violations of OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.
        I repeat
        1. 18 U.S. Code § 242 – Deprivation of rights under color of law
        Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties,
        o Code 243 · 18 U.S. Code 241 · Chapter 13

  • […] Narcissi Craig on The Victory Girls: Businesses Without Options Defy Closing Orders […]

  • DM says:

    All the petty tyrants at the state & local levels should be charged with violation of 18 USC 242 Denial of Civil Rights under Color of Law
    Section 242 of Title 18 makes it a crime for a person acting under color of any law to willfully deprive a person of a right or privilege protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
    Deprivation Of Rights Under Color Of Law – Justice

  • […] doubt rule the guilty and sentence to the maximum extent of the law, good luck getting an arrest.  Businesses without any option for continued closure are starting to reopen whether allowed to do so ….  These are generally barber shops, beauty shops and restaurants.  They are getting cited with […]

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