Monday, January 17, 2022

Barber bucks Covid lockdown

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Rebel Barber Beasley At Large
Kimberly Stokes of Toledo, Ore., gets a trim after Kristen Savage opened her Newport hair salon Tuesday in defiance of a statewide lockdown of “non-essential” businesses in March. Savage’s phone went silent after police visited her that afternoon. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

NEWPORT — Add to the pantheon of great American dissidents a working mother of five from Toledo, Ore., who reopened her hair salon against pandemic lockdown orders with a defiant question for Governor Kate Brown.

“Where does she get HER hair done?” wondered Kristen Savage as she snipped the locks of a longtime customer at Cutting Edge Hair Salon Tuesday, May 12. “She’s looking good — it’s pretty obvious someone’s cutting her hair. She hasn’t missed a beat.”

Savage, 34, opened after calling a couple of state agencies, OSHA (occupational health) and the salon-licensing bureau, which told her they had no jurisdiction over a one-person shop that otherwise followed administrative rules. Announcing the event on her Facebook page, she opened at 10 a.m. and was working on her fourth customer at 2 p.m.

“I’m doing everything right,” Savage said, taking a hair dryer and brush to her client’s bangs behind a colorful surgical mask and DEQ-approved gloves. “Everything is sanitized for 10 minutes before use. I wash my hands, use a glove and a mask and space it out between appointments.”

Outside, a Newport police vehicle cruised by slowly as the officer peered inside the clean two-chair salon in a mall behind Newport Café.

“They’ve been by five times but never stopped,” Savage remarked. “I’ve had some people who have struck out at me on Facebook, though. For the most part, people are supportive.”

Savage cited the shifting goalposts of the lockdown as one reason she couldn’t wait a day longer to reopen her business, shuttered since March 23 by Gov. Brown’s order to shut down “non-essential” businesses, schools and parks. County officials have gone even farther, closing the tourist industry with a ban on motels, RV parks and vacation rentals.

“The governor said she would allow businesses to reopen May 15 if the county was approved, but I have personally called the (Lincoln County) commissioners and they say we can’t open until June 1 and only if they meet some kind of nebulous requirements,” she recalled, saying it now appears the lockdown might continue well into July.

State and county officials who are still collecting paychecks have failed small businesses like hers, allowing citizens to shop unfettered in big-box stores and pot shops while they suffer, Savage noted.

“When we originally got the order on March 23 to close down I had two to four weeks of finances, but two months is a death sentence for my business,” she said. “I’ve got bills to pay and children to feed, and I want to keep everything I’ve worked hard for.”

Lincoln County has a high proportion of bra-burners and herbicide protestors, but it takes a special kind of courage to stand alone against dawdling government ineptitude and overreach. Later that day, however, the police stopped circling and closed in.

“Our police department made contact and explained that under the governor’s order she was not allowed to be opened, and she refused to close,” reported Newport City Manager Spencer Nebel on Tuesday afternoon after Savage’s phone went silent. “The way the process is set up, we’re supposed to make contact and educate the person, then refer them to the Oregon Health Authority.”

It’s hard to say what Kristen Savage’s civil disobedience will cost. This is a weird time, when governments are on edge, whistleblowers disappear and all the worst divisions in America — race, class and religion — are being stirred and stretched by politicians from the city councils to Congress. All I know is her phone continues to ring, unanswered.

Rick Beasley
Rick Beasley is a simple writer who collects sniper rifles for a hobby. During an astonishing publishing career that spans five decades and continues at Lincoln City Homepage, he has collected 17 awards for excellence in journalism from various organizations including nine first-place Best Writing awards from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association.

Welcome to the comments section. Feel free to speak your mind about topics raised in this article, but please be civil to your fellow humans.


  1. Jim, you are a moron.
    “The opinions that have been expressed by Knut Wittkowski, discouraging social distancing in order to hasten the development of herd immunity to the novel coronavirus, do not represent the views of The Rockefeller University, its leadership, or its faculty.

    Wittkowski was previously employed by Rockefeller as a biostatistician. He has never held the title of professor at Rockefeller.”

  2. Could you please post up all those ways you can protect the Majority while letting the Minority (the spreaders) go bout there business doing whatever they want. And then send them to all the governors for approval? I’m sure you have plenty of them.

    Maybe your getting a taste of what it’s like to be a minority in this Country!

    PS Pelosi is always being seen with designer face masks! In fact she is known for her color-coordinated Fashion Masks! Where as Trump won’t be seen with one because he is afraid it will reveal his weaknesses in front of the World or at least make him look that way.

    • Saw on the news today Trump is taking the debunked anti-malarial drug. Surprised he isn’t touting the mass consumption of tonic water containing quinine…

  3. Nothing makes sense anymore about Oregon’s COV 19 response.

    In a perfect world, the government would do what it was MADE to do, which is to PROTECT the minority (those who are rightfully concerned about losing whatever freedom and privacy they have left) from the majority (those whose senses are addled by unwarranted fear).

    There are plenty of ways to protect the latter while not stamping out the rights of the former.

    Side note: why aren’t Pelosi or Trump wearing masks? Their combined age is like 170 or something. Did they already get their vaccines? Or do they know something we don’t know…?

  4. Demwithagun You sound like an alcoholic and a drug addict nobody needs alcohol and drugs. Wake up and quit drinking the Kool aid the Kate Brown is selling you. Anybody that has a job is essential because every job is essential if they weren’t they wouldn’t have a job and those businesses would have already been closed.

  5. Cannabis and Alcohol
    The State Liquor Control Commission, which oversees the cannabis industry issued a temporary issue. Medical marijuana dispensaries have been deemed essential because they sell medicine. So they remain open with limited rules one must follow, usually 1 or 2 at a time and other protections. Recreational marijuana (sold at the same place) can help people cope with anxiety and depression. For this reason, states decided to keep their recreational open during the outbreak.

    Liquor stores are also being deemed essential throughout states across America. Keeping them open can help alcoholics avoid withdrawal symptoms like seizures or death! That would fill up hospitals around the world more than any covid-19. Also many alcoholics would resort to mouthwash, hand sanitizers, lysol, car coolant. Access to alcohol becomes a matter of life or death!

  6. Why are pot shops allowed to be open during the lockdown orders? They are not essential businesses. I’m sure some people are going to argue about this question because they frequent the pot shops, but everyone knows that the state benefits from these businesses so you can’t close them! (That was sarcasm along with truth.) Besides this virus being a health issue, it’s also political. If you think it isn’t political, read history about previous viruses. They ended messy & ended political.

  7. This virus kills kids and the elderly, at least. Just because YOU don’t have symptoms does not mean the rest of the people around you are out of danger. It is your ignorance that may kill your friends and family. No second chances here so what exactly is the government that you elected doing wrong? Spend some of that time on your hands coming up with solutions rather than just bitching about your elected officials who are doing the best they can to save lives. And yeah, go ahead and believe the airlines….. Good God people.

    • I see that there is more than one JIM, posting. I’m the “first” one, (i think), who has posted a few times over the last week or so.
      Not that long ago, the idea was that everyone needed to stay in place and flatten the curve. Very largely, most people did. And the curve flattened. Hospital admission went down. All of this has happened–already!

      Now, the news media and liberals keep trying to move the goalposts. The Governors wont be standing in any bread-line themselves. They should care more about ordinary people who wanna keep their business, feed their family, pay their house payments, and yes, even pay taxes as honest citizens.

  8. What burns me up is watching city employees servicing closed parks.
    If you work for the state your golden, you get paid..regardless.
    If you do not you are the true “at risk”.
    At risk of being subjugated by the whims of progressives who hold Oregon hostage. Locally we need to get serious and get those commissioners and City hall cowards removed.
    Where’s the “Flyover” for the hero’s who have gone bankrupt trying to stay afloat? Those who made the mistake of opening a business in a city that wont stand with them. Tic-Toc City

  9. I totally agree!! If you can scare the h… out of a population, you have control. The media is doing a damn fine job of this!! Our governor (and many others) need to open our states and let our people get back to work and our children go back to school.
    It is extremely interesting that Sweden shut down for a short time and you do not see the facts from the virus in the media. The media gives us only what the want you to hear. Pretty sad.
    My husband and I were at the Arizona Memorial in Honolulu in early March. The Memorial was full from people around the world. We were on a cruise with Holland America and the ship was full. The last week of the cruise was nerve racking as all the guests were petrified with all the news. The captain of the ship was diligent in keeping us all safe.We arrived San Diego and when we got to the airport, it was like a ghost town. The airlines (thank you Alaska Airlines) told us that they use hospital grade sanitizer after every flight. That was certainly comforting. My husband and I are in our 60’s. My husband does have a heart condition and that has certainly been a concern.
    Sorry to be so long winded (seem to have a lot of time on my hands….). We have not even had a cough since we have been home. Yes, we do wash our hands more than normal but that is about it. Be safe, be smart and hope you all are healthy and happy.

  10. What is happening in our state is nothing different than what happened in NAZI GERMANY. Wake up people. We are loosing our freedom! WHAT this woman did should be applauded! Our governor doesn’t have the authority to do what she is doing without a vote in our legislature. Lawsuits are being filed. Let freedom ring!


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