News & Politics

Oregon Salon Owner Defies Closure Order, Opens for Business, Threatened with $70k Fine

Lindsey Graham (Image via Facebook. Used with permission)

Lindsey and Scott Graham own four tanning shops, a hair salon, and a gym in the Salem, Oregon, area. Like most small business owners, they’ve been financially devastated by Oregon’s lockdown orders during the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Having little recourse and needing to support their family, the Grahams have announced that they will open their hair salon back up in defiance of the closure order by Gov. Kate Brown. In response, the state Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) threatened her business with closure and a $70,000 fine.

In an interview with PJ Media, Lindsey said that she had to lay off her 25 employees, and an additional 25 stylists who lease space in her salon are also out of work. She said that the representative from OSHA stopped by her salon yesterday while it was closed. Graham was doing a deep clean of the salon to prepare to reopen today, and the doors were locked. This indicated to her that he must have been acting on a complaint filed. She says he dropped by to have a friendly discussion about operating an unsafe work environment. The first citation would carry a $1,000 fine, but if he had to cite her again, it would be for willful noncompliance, which carries a maximum penalty of $70,000. She has contacted an attorney to discuss her options.

Graham put out a Facebook video yesterday to describe the situation. She says that she spent Monday performing a deep clean on the salon she plans to open (ironically located on Liberty Street in Salem).

Note that she was told that OSHA does not enforce state stay-at-home and business closure orders.

Graham has taken several appointments from her regular hair clients in an effort to reopen her business and make a living. She had a baby right before Gov. Brown shut down “non-essential” businesses in March, and had planned to go back to work after about a month off. Instead, all six of her locations remain closed, costing her thousands in lost revenue and requiring her to lay off most of her employees.

A friend of hers put together a Facebook event that reads, in part:

On Sunday May 3, Lindsey announced that she would be opening her salon back up regardless of the order. If our train wreck of a government can’t get it together by getting the unemployment disaster figured out, the small business grants organized, or any type of reasonable assistance granted then these small business have NO CHOICE. They have to get back to work. It has NOTHING to do with being an essential business. I don’t care if they sell silly string for a living, that’s not the point. It has to do the well being of her family, paying her bills, and taking care of responsibility like a responsible human should. This is hands down government over reach and we need to come together safely to support her. She is our voice right now. She has stood up and said what we’ve all been wanting to say for a while. Let’s hope this starts a trend and we can open back up and get on with our lives.

In an interview with KOIN 6 News, Graham said she’s taking extra precautions in reopening her salon to prove that it’s safe:

Graham said not having a date for when she can reopen is devastating and she is nervous about the repercussions. She said her decision to reopen was made “out of need, out of necessity.”

“The anxiety is coming from not knowing what repercussions I am going to face just trying to earn a living. That’s pretty scary,” said Graham. “And knowing that I have to do this, so I don’t get a choice in facing the consequences.”

Graham was at the rally at the state capitol building on Saturday. She and hundreds of others called on the governor to reopen the state.

“It was eye-opening and devastating to know the reason we were there is because we were begging her to let us reopen our businesses,” she said.

She said they are taking precautions to limit the number of customers inside the salon. They will only be seeing clients who made appointments, and in between each appointment staff will be doing a deep clean. Employees will wear masks and gloves, and masks will be provided for customers as well, according to Graham.

“We want to prove that we can do our job safely,” said Graham.

The governor’s office released a statement that read, in part, “Throughout this crisis, local law enforcement’s first focus has been to work with members of the public to educate them about complying with distancing measures. During a public health crisis, we want Oregon law enforcement officers to be focused on urgent public health and safety needs. Violating the Governor’s orders under the current state of emergency is a Class C misdemeanor. However, we view that as a last resort––law enforcement will seek voluntary compliance first.”

It seems the State of Oregon is attempting to send a message, via OSHA, that safety is not enough, and non-compliance will result in any number of consequences.

Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available now at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff.

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