Gov. Abbott eliminates jail as punishment for violating COVID-19 executive orders

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has modified his executive orders related to COVID-19 to eliminate confinement as a punishment for violating those orders.

The modifications are being applied retroactively to April 2.

“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 Governor Abbott. “That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order.”

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Governor Abbott says the order “supersedes local orders and if correctly applied should free Shelley Luther.”

Luther, a Dallas County salon owner, was jailed for seven days after she refused to apologize for opening her business in defiance of countywide restrictions.

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“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," Gov. Abbott says. "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.”