Gov. Abbott says Texans cannot be jailed for violating shutdown orders

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Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, delivers remarks during a press conference on April 21, 2020, updating the public on the state’s response to COVID-19. (Nexstar Photo/Wes Rapaport)

AUSTIN (Texas)–Governor Greg Abbott announced Thursday he will not allow anyone to be jailed for violating his executive orders related to the spread of COVID-19.

In a release, he says this is being applied retroactively.

“Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen,” said Gov Abbott. in a release.

His statement comes after a salon owner in Dallas-Fort Worth was sentenced to seven days in jail for keeping her beauty salon open during the state-mandated shutdown.

“This order is retroactive to April 2nd, supersedes local orders and if correctly applied should free Shelley Luther. It may also ensure that other Texans like Ana Isabel Castro-Garcia and Brenda Stephanie Mata who were arrested in Laredo, should not be subject to confinement. As some county judges advocate for releasing hardened criminals from jail to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is absurd to have these business owners take their place,” he said.

Abbott said on Wednesday he did not support the punishment.

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