Salem salon opens despite threat of fines

Marion County

The owner said she was threatened with a $70K fine

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A salon in Salem opened for business on Tuesday despite Governor Kate Brown’s executive order and potential fines. The owner of Glamour Salon said she is not opening just because she wants to—but because she needs to.

On Monday, Lindsey Graham and one of her employees were busy cleaning and sanitizing the salon. Graham and her husband own multiple businesses, and during the pandemic all of those businesses have had to close. Glamour Salon closed in late March after the governor’s order was announced and businesses deemed non-essential had to close.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been established for the salon, with a description saying that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration directly threatened the business with a $70,000 fine. As of Tuesday, over $5,000 out of the $70,000 goal was raised.

Crowds gathered in support of the salon on Tuesday morning ahead of its expected opening.

“I am beyond grateful. I can’t even believe it—this means the world; this is a clear sign that this is how many people are desperate to get back to work. We all need to work and this proves it,” said Graham. “My heart is so full and I am so thankful.”

Speaking to the dozens of people gathered outside the salon, Graham sympathized with others who have had to close their businesses.

“If we can all get back to work and feed our families because I am going to do this—then I am going to keep doing it,” she said.”It’s a Constitutional right for me to earn a living for me and my family.

“Raise your hand if you need to make a living.”

Graham said she had already taken time off of work just before the state-ordered closures went into effect because she had a new baby.

“And then to be forced into another month of not working — not being able to work was difficult for us,” said Graham.

Not having a date for when she could reopen was devastating and she was nervous about the repercussions, Graham said, adding 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.

Lindsey Graham, owner of Glamour Salon in Salem. May 4, 2020 (KOIN)

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. “I am wearing gloves, I’m wearing a mask. Any client I am seeing is wearing a mask, anyone who comes to purchase a product is wearing a mask. We are following all the health licensing and sanitization cleaning laws that we already abide by and are licensed to do.”

Of the 25 people who previously worked at the salon, only a few will be returning to work on Tuesday. Clients have already booked their appointments.

“Yes, and there are new clients wanting to support us that are driving down from all over the state that are booking appointments too,” said Graham.

Her attorney, Ross Day, told KOIN 6 News the salon is doing its best to follow health and safety guidelines.

“I think OSHA’s threat demonstrates that they don’t really understand how hair salons work. There are no employees so OSHA does not have jurisdiction,” Day said. “My client is taking clients and trying to earn a living just like Kate Brown gets to earn a living.”

Glamour Salon will bring back some of its services for hair, as well as offer eye-lash extensions and teeth whitening, but will hold off on other services such as tanning, cosmetic tattooing, and botox.

An employee sanitizes salon chairs at Glamour Salon in Salem. May 4, 2020 (KOIN)

KOIN 6 News reached out to OSHA and received the following response:

“We cannot discuss ongoing or planned activities in relation to any particular place of employment. Penalties, if issued, depend upon a number of factors, including the size of the employer, the nature of the violation, and the employer’s good or poor faith in attempting to comply. The penalty rules can be found beginning at OAR 437-001-0135. Under those rules, a serious violation that is not a willful or repeated violation carries a minimum penalty of $100 and a maximum of $12,675. A willful violation carries a minimum penalty of $8,900 and a maximum of $126,749. The rules also state that “each violation“ of a red warning notice carries a minimum penalty of $1,000 and a maximum of $5,000.”

KOIN 6 News reached out to Governor Brown’s office to see how they are enforcing her order, and received the following statement from Press Secretary Liz Merah:

“The Governor has issued her executive orders for physical distancing to protect the health and safety of Oregonians during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The social and economic sacrifices Oregonians have made have prevented as many as 70,000 COVID-19 infections and 1,500 hospitalizations in Oregon (as reported by the Institute for Disease Modeling). While we have made progress, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t over. How we move forward as a state—and the individual choices each Oregonian makes—matters. The last thing we want to do is undermine the progress we have made by disregarding physical distancing orders and creating a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Governor’s Office is aware that some businesses are choosing to reopen prematurely, before appropriate safeguards are in place for their communities.

This behavior is irresponsible and unfortunate. These business owners are putting the public at risk.

A public health crisis should never be used as a marketing opportunity. As a state, and as a community, we have a shared responsibility to protect our friends, neighbors, and loved ones from COVID-19.   

To be clear, the Governor expects businesses that are prohibited from operating (under paragraph 2 of her Executive Order) to remain closed––for the safety of employees and patrons alike––until orders have been lifted and it is safe to begin gradually reopening, with appropriate safety measures in place.

Violating the Governor’s orders under the current state of emergency is a Class C misdemeanor (for which the penalty is up to 30 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,250, or both). This applies both to the business owner and their patrons. However, 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. Criminal penalties will be a last resort, and law enforcement will seek voluntary compliance first.”

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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