Jailed Dallas Business Owner Donating Money to Two Laredo Beauticians

Shelly Luther wants to use the money raised by GoFundMe for other business owners facing charges

Hairdresser Shelly Luther had no intention of creating such a name for herself when she decided to open up her Dallas-based hair salon early. The single mom and small business owner said that she simply wanted to continue providing for her children. When hair salons were deemed nonessential, Luther, like many other business owners, had to shut down for the coronavirus pandemic.

She was arrested in early May and ordered to serve seven days in prison after ignoring a cease-and-desist order, which she ripped up at a Dallas rally. The judge in the case allowed Luther a chance to apologize for her actions – but she refused.

Her arrest and sentencing made national headlines. Numerous Texas politicians offered support for Luther. People rallied around her and raised $500K in a GoFundMe account. Now that Luther is released, she plans to use some of the money to help others facing similar threats.

Two of those people are Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata of Laredo. They were both arrested after offering beauty services for their clients out of their homes in April.

Castro-Garcia was arrested for violating the Stay-at-Home Work Safe orders by running a nail salon out of her home and reaching out to customers over social media. Mata was arrested after a tip to police that she was operating an eyelash salon in her home.

Neither of these Laredo women will be prosecuted now that Governor Abbott changed his executive order to no jail time for this type of violation. However, business owners can still be fined.

But Luther says that after she pays her mortgage and legal fees, she'd like to help Castro-Garcia and Mata with their legal costs and fines and give each of the women some "head-start" money.

Luther has received a mixed reaction to her decision to open early. Some business owners believe she should have focused on keeping people safe and waited, while others applaud her action. Luther thinks that her response not only helped her family and employees; it also paved the way for other salons to open sooner.

"I had to do what I felt was right in this situation, and whether they support it or not… if they're a salon owner, they are getting to open ten days earlier," she said.

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