Melbourne salon owner calls for lockdown rebellion after $10k fine

A barbershop and salon in Melbourne’s southeast has vowed “to fight” and re-open despite being fined $10,000.

Adam and Weave Barber and Salon in Hughesdale opened on Saturday despite Victoria’s strict lockdown measures and the risk of a hefty fine.

The owner wrote on Facebook on Friday they could “no longer continue to suffer in silence” and were left with no choice but to reopen on Saturday at 8.30am.

However, it appears the re-opening was short-lived. In a Facebook video posted at 11.20am on Saturday, co-owner Joumana Najem, a mum of two, said the store had to shut after the health department and police caught wind of it.

“Obviously we won’t be taking any more bookings today,” Ms Najem says in the video.

“We most likely will be taking appointments tomorrow. We will keep going. We’re going to fight this. Let’s fight this together.”

Joumana Najem is pictured.
Joumana Najem wants Victorian businesses to open their doors despite risking hefty fines. Source: Facebook/ Adam and Weave Barber and Salon

A Victoria Police spokeswoman confirmed to Yahoo News Australia the business had been fined $9,913 for breaching the Stage Four Chief Health Officer directions.

“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,” the 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.

“Police also arrested a man at the scene and he was issued an infringement notice for failing to comply with the Chief Health Officer’s directions.

“Victoria Police would like to commend the vast majority of Victorians who continue to adhere to restrictions.”

Somewhat ironically, hairdressers were singled out as the only business that can open from Monday after Premier Daniel Andrews announced the easing of some restrictions at a press conference Sunday.

Victoria Police officers on the footpath at Poath Road in Hughesdale.
Police outside Ms Najem's salon. Source: Facebook/ Adam and Weave Barber and Salon

‘I don’t want to risk that’

In a separate video on Saturday night, Najem says she reconsidered opening on Sunday concerned she could be arrested.

“I have two kids – a two-year-old and a one-year-old,” she said. “So, I don’t want to risk that.”

However, she asks other businesses to open on Sunday “in solidarity”.

“Just do it,” Ms Najem says.

“I know a lot of people are waiting to see Dan’s announcement.

“I have no faith tomorrow that he’s going to make any changes for business.”

While Ms Najem will now be able to open on Monday morning, her actions on Saturday divided opinion – particularly after Mr Andrews’ Sunday press conference.

“Hope other businesses open in solidarity,” one woman wrote.

Others referred to her as a hero but some people believe she’s part of the problem.

“You’re disgusting and the reason why millions of others have to stay in lockdown,” one woman wrote.

“Well done f******* you got a $10k fine for opening two days before you’re allowed,” one man wrote.

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