Image: State Representative Steve Toth, Republican of Conroe, courageously got a haircut at Tune Up on F.M. 1488 yesterday morning.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, May 5 – State Representative Steve Toth, Republican of Conroe, courageously got a haircut at Tune Up on F.M. 1488 yesterday morning. Surprisingly, Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson chose not to bother the elected official or to make any arrests. Around the same time, State Representative Briscoe Cain, Republican of Deer Park, also dared to get a haircut in his District.
Toth explained, “This morning, I had my hair cut at Tune Up on 1488 in House District 15. I cannot stand by and watch businesses and their employees lose their livelihoods and their homes as the number of Texans filing for unemployment surpasses 2 million. Additionally, some of the owners of Tune Up and businesses like it are firefighters who have invested their life savings into creating a service their customers love. They are reopening safely, following safety and hygiene practices above the standards they are already required to follow to maintain their State licenses. I went to support this business and encourage others by demonstrating how they could safely get the services they need from businesses in their community.”
Obviously, the courage of Toth and Cain had a major impact on Governor Greg Abbott, who later in the day yesterday announced that hair, nail, and tanning salons could reopen on Friday, May 8, 2020, but gymnasiums must remained closed until May 18.
Montgomery County Republican Party Vice Chairman Reagan Reed said, “So many of our Montgomery County elected officials have been conspicuously absent when it’s come to defending our local businesses and constitutional liberties. Kudos to State Rep. Steve Toth for his act of civil disobedience against an unjust and unconstitutional order…[I]t’s great to see him standing so strongly for freedom. I appreciate his leadership on this!”
Governor Greg Abbott yesterday held a press conference, apparently in response to the bravery of Toth and Cain, where announced that he will be issuing an Executive Order to expand openings of certain businesses and activities. The Governor also announced new guidance from the Texas Education Agency (TEA) on graduation ceremonies and the creation of Surge Response Teams to combat any COVID-19 flare ups in Texas.
“Texas is in a position to continue opening parts of our economy because of the efforts and determination of the people of Texas,” said Governor Abbott. “Over the past month, Texans have worked together to contain the spread of COVID-19 by following social distancing practices and staying at home whenever possible. As we move forward, I urge all Texans to continue following these social distancing guidelines and the health standards we have provided. With every Texan doing their part, we will contain COVID-19, we will unleash our entrepreneurs, and we will make it through this challenge together.”
Per the Governor’s announcement, wedding venues and services required to conduct weddings may immediately open. Weddings held indoors other than at a church, congregation, or house of worship must limit occupancy to 25%. Wedding reception services may also resume, but facilities must limit their occupancy to 25% of the total listed occupancy. These occupancy limits do not apply to the outdoor areas of a wedding reception or to outdoor wedding receptions.
Beginning May 8, cosmetology salons, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons and shops, and other establishments where licensed cosmetologists or barbers practice their trade, may open, but all such salons, shops, and establishments must ensure at least six feet of social distancing between operating work stations. Tanning salons may also reopen under the same limitation. Also starting May 8, swimming pools may open subject to certain limitations, including on their occupancy or operating levels.
Beginning May 18, office buildings may open with the greater of five or less individuals or 25% of the total office workforce. These individuals must maintain appropriate social distancing. Gyms, exercise facilities, and exercise classes may also open on May 18, but must operate at 25% occupancy. Locker rooms and shower facilities will remain closed, but restrooms may open. Non-essential manufacturing services may also open on May 18 but facilities must limit their occupancy to 25%.
These newly opened services are subject to recommended minimum standard health protocols outlined by DSHS.
What’s particularly troubling is that Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, County Attorney BD Griffin, and District Attorney Brett Ligon seem to have reversed their positions from early in the week last week, even though the law and the United States and Texas Constitutions have not changed during that time period. During the April 28, 2020, meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley asked an important question: “If we open up a couple of barber shops in Magnolia, no one is going to come shut them down?”
In response, Judge Keough answered, “That’s correct.”
Sadly, Keough, Griffin, Ligon, and the Sheriff seem to have decided that they’ll play politics rather than uphold their oaths to defend and uphold the Constitution. This newspaper has spoken with several patrol officers within the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office who have expressed, on the condition of anonymity, that they are very upset that Sheriff Henderson and other law enforcement leaders have placed them in the “untenable position” of having to enforce “made up rules to prevent people from working and earning a living.”
On Tuesday, April 28, even Keough, before changing his tune, stated in a video, “The most difficult part of that for me is that we’re only opening up at 25% occupancy for two weeks…and then we get the chance to open up to 50% in the future, and then maybe 75%…But it’s not just that. It’s who is the Governor choosing as a winner or a loser in their opening. For example…dentists can reopen and they have their hands in your mouth for two or three hours…But the fact of the matter is that we’re closing hair salons who take 15 minutes to cut your hair when what the dentists are doing is much more intimate and invasive. I have a problem with that as your County Judge. I’m doing everything to move this County forward.”
The County Judge continued before changing his mind, “The businesses he said in his orders would be closed are not in his orders as closed. He just said he advised people to stay away from a certain type of businesses. It is unclear. It is vague. And like a number of things that have come out recently are very inconsistent…Because of the vagueness of this order, we’re not going to keep hair salons, or any of these things, we’re not going to keep them closed, because that’s not what the order says…As far as we’re concerned, you can be open.”