In response to widespread backlash, Governor Greg Abbott (R-Texas) made some changes to his executive orders implementing economic restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, in order to set free jailed salon owner Shelley Luther, as reported by MSN.
Specifically, Abbott updated the orders so that confinement is no longer a punishment for violating lockdown orders. Abbott even mentioned Luther by name in his announcement of the changes. Abbott’s statement read, in part, that “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.”
The changes to the order may also expedite the release of several other business owners facing similar punishments for similar actions, including Ana Isabel Castro and Brenda Stephanie Mata, who were offering cosmetic services from inside their homes during the shutdown.
The jailing of Luther became a national controversy after District Judge Eric Moye ordered her, at her hearing, to “apologize” to elected officials for violating the lockdown rules. In a video that has since gone viral, Luther refused to apologize and defended her actions, saying that she only reopened her business in order to feed her children. She was originally sentenced to one week in jail and a $7,000 fine before the Texas Supreme Court overturned her sentenced and ordered her to be released immediately.