Australia Hughesdale salon owners slapped with $10,000 fine after opening
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A couple running a salon and barber in Melbourne's south-east say they have crowd-funded financial backing to fight a $10,000 fine for opening their businesses on Saturday against stage four lockdown rules.
In the second prominent example this week, Adam and Weave Barber and Salon in Hughesdale opened its doors to customers for haircuts on Saturday morning with the owners citing "financial ruin" if they were to remain closed any longer.
Covid-19. The 2021 edition of the Salon de l'Agriculture canceled
© LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP The Salon de l'Agriculture 2021 is canceled in its current form. The information was given by the organizers on Tuesday October 13, 2020. It was to be held in Paris from February 27 to March 7, 2021. The Agricultural Show is canceled in its current form due to the coronavirus epidemic. The 2021 edition of the Salon de l'Agriculture , which was scheduled to be held in Paris from February 27 to March 7, is canceled in its current form due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Police were waiting outside Jomana Najem and Rojih Alhallak's business at 8.30am on Saturday morning after Ms Najem spoke about her intention to open her business this weekend in media reports published on Friday.
She told The Age her husband, a recently-arrived immigrant from Syria, made the decision to open after being interviewed by right-wing media site Rebel News earlier in the week.
Ms Najem said at least six customers received a haircut before police threatened her with arrest and issued her a fine for $9913, with the salon closing by 11am.
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Police say at least one other person was arrested and fined at the scene, but it is unclear whether that person was a customer.
"Victoria Police understands the difficulties facing many businesses at the moment and made every effort to see today's matter resolved without the need for a fine to be issued," a Victoria police spokeswoman said.
"However, after repeated warnings and consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services the business owner was issued a fine for $9,913."
Ms Najem said the nearly $10,000 fine was not a major concern to her, stating she had commitment for crowd-funded financial backing for the costs of challenging the fine in court - but would not name which groups or individuals would be paying her fine.
She also said she had been offered legal representation for free, but would not name who from.
The salon owner stated she had no personal relationship with the found of Rebel News, who is running crowd-funding campaigns for a variety of anti-lockdown legal challenges - including a Supreme Court challenge on behalf of an anti-lockdown protester submitted earlier this week.
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Adam & Weave Hair Salon and Barber in Hughesdale, the city's south-east, are risking the $9,913 fine to keep the struggling business afloat. Husband and wife Jomana Najem and Rojer Alhallak, who own the business, said they will go bankrupt if they continue to live without an income. 'We have just decided we are going to open our doors tomorrow because if we don't we are going go bankrupt,' Ms Najem told Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini. 'If we don't work we can't pay our rent, we can't do anything, and this is a new business.
At least one person who went to the salon on Saturday morning was holding a 'Save Victoria' banner, the slogan for another crowd funding campaign by Rebel News.
More supporters have arrived with a ???Free Victoria' sign. The salon owners say they've been threatened with arrest and will close, but plan to open again tomorrow. Several in the crowd say they'll be here, hoping for a haircut??? Steph Anderson (@_StephAnderson)
Ms Najem said she was operating her salon in a COVID-safe way, but wasn't requiring every customer to wear a mask.
"They could if they wanted to, but I don't think it's my job to tell people what they should and shouldn't do," she said.
"Nearly everyone was wearing a mask today."
It comes after a defiant Berwick retailer earlier this week vowed to trade indefinitely, despite facing a fine of almost $10,000 after throwing open his menswear store on Wednesday.
Harry Hutchinson said he was fed up with the state government's compulsory lockdown of retail outlets in metropolitan Melbourne and so had made his own decision to reopen his business, Harry's Clothing.
Melbourne hairdressers fined almost $10,000 for opening in lockdown
A hairdressing salon in Melbourne that defied the Victorian government's coronavirus lockdown were fined almost $10,000 after trading on Saturday. Husband and wife Jomana Najem and Rojer Alhallak, who own the Adam and Weave Barber shop in Hughesdale, in south-east Melbourne, were slugged $9,913 for opening their doors despite Stage 4 restrictions.The struggling business put a call out on Facebook to any Victorian who needed a haircut, saying they would 'go broke' if they had no customers.Police were spotted outside the salon at 8.
Mr Hutchinson has also featured in video reports by Rebel News.
Premier Daniel Andrews said on Saturday he hoped no more businesses would follow in the wake of the Berwick and Hughesdale examples, and urged business owners to be patient.
"This is challenging and yes it's painful, there's a lot of hurt and there will need to be healing, and there will be, in a budget that will be unprecedented in the scale and the nature of the investments we'll make," he said.
Mr Andrews said he felt for business owners who said they "had to open" because they were out of money, but they should "ring (the state government assistance lines) and we'll look after you if we can".
"But if you're wanting to fill your till by opening up against the rules, you're going to get a $10,000 fine. The maths of that doesn't add up," Mr Andrews said.
But Ms Najem said her business, which only opened three-and-a-half weeks before stage four lockdown began, didn't qualify for any business assistance and she felt that without a clear date for retail re-opening from the government, and mounting rent and invoices, she had no other choice but to open up.
"If there was a date, we wouldn't have done what we did," she said. "We have no hope, we see no silver lining".
She said the family had been overwhelmed with support for re-opening, with people dropping off food, money and presents for her children on Saturday.
"We were inundated and we told people to come and we would do walk-in appointment for cuts," Ms Najem said. "The amount of support has been insane."
The couple, who have two young children, said they would decide tonight whether they would open again tomorrow and risk further fines or charges from police.
"We need to weigh up the scales," said Ms Najem.
The Victoria Police spokeswoman said the force "would like to commend the vast majority of Victorians who continue to adhere to restrictions".
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