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WASHINGTON – Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, got a haircut Friday at the salon owned by Shelley Luther, who was briefly jailed for refusing to obey stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic.
Luther, who opened Salon à la Mode nearly two weeks ago, was found in contempt for ignoring a court order to close from state Judge Eric Moyé, who sentenced her to seven days in Dallas County jail Tuesday and hit her with a $7,000 fine.
The state's Supreme Court on Thursday ordered Dallas County officials to free Luther while they weigh an appeal challenging her incarceration.
Cruz wrote on Twitter: "Hair salons & barbershops are open in TX today. Just got my hair cut for first time in 3 months at Salon ALa Mode to support Shelley Luther, who was wrongly imprisoned when she refused to apologize for trying to earn a living. Glad Shelley is out of jail & her business is open!"
The fine and jail sentence came as barbershops and hair salons were allowed to reopen Friday under an executive order issued by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott. Under Abbott’s previous stay-at-home order, effective April 2, salons and other nonessential businesses were required to close.
Luther refused to apologize to Moyé in court in order to avoid jail time, saying, "I have hairstylists that are going hungry because they'd rather feed their kids. So sir, if you think the law is more important than kids being fed then please go ahead with your decision but I'm not going to shut the salon."
Abbott announced Thursday that officials will be prohibited from jailing Texans for violating any of his coronavirus-related executive orders.
During an interview on "Fox and Friends" Friday morning, President Donald Trump applauded Luther's defiance, saying she is an "incredible representative for a large group of people that want to do the same thing, they want to get back to work."
Texas has had more than 36,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and about 1,000 deaths from the virus, according to Texas Health and Human Services. Additionally, the number of cases continues to climb in the state, with more than 1,000 new cases each day in the week since the stay-at-home orders ended May 1.
Stay-at-home orders and business closures were deployed to combat COVID-19. Many individuals around the country have protested the orders as the closures have hurt businesses.
Luther was supported by many state politicians, as well, including GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who said there are "more important things than living” regarding reopening businesses. Patrick offered to pay Luther's fine.
After his haircut on Friday, Cruz said, "I'm proud to stand with Shelley Luther. What happened to her was wrong. It was ridiculous to see somebody sentenced to seven days in jail for cutting hair. That's not right. That's not justice. That's not Texas."
Contributing: Nicole Cobler and Chuck Lindell, Austin American-Statesman
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Coronavirus: Ted Cruz gets haircut at salon whose owner was jailed