Austin, Texas – Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday dropped the jail sentence for the quarantine violation amid right-wing clamor by a Dallas beauty salon owner, jailed for refusing to close her business .
Quickly mitigating his own standards, Abbott said his new ordinance should release Shelley Luther, imprisoned in Dallas County for keeping her beauty salon open despite governor’s restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID- 19.
When Luther refused to apologize for repeatedly violating the order, a judge found her guilty of contempt and sentenced her to one week in prison. Republican lawmakers and right-wing activists raised their voices, and a fundraising campaign had raised more than half a million dollars for Luther on Thursday morning.RELATED
“Imprisoning Texans who have had to close their businesses through no fault of their own is absurd, I will not allow it to happen,” Abbott said in a statement. He mentioned two women in Laredo, near the border with Mexico, who were also jailed for violating their decrees, although those cases have not drawn attention or generated protests.
Abbott plans to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House in the next few hours to discuss the state’s response to the coronavirus.
Texas has more than 34,000 confirmed cases and some 940 coronavirus deaths. It reported 42 deaths Wednesday, one of the highest numbers since the outbreak began. Abbott says the hospitalization rate remains unchanged and the contagion rate has fallen since mid-April.