Like many governors, Greg Abbott issued a statewide non-essential business closure order. Many people complied, but as the weeks wore on, small business owners became desperate to save their businesses and feed their families. A salon owner in Dallas made national news when she refused to comply with repeated shutdown orders and even a court order. She was fined and jailed.
That’s when Governor Abbott decided enough was enough. He struck jail time as a possible penalty for defying the shutdown order and made the change retroactive, then ordered the salon owner released.
Then the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation dropped 200 enforcement cases against barbers and cosmetologists who kept working in April and early May, and dismissed around 180 complaints that had been filed but not yet investigated.
Whether the changes came because enforcement appeared to be futile or simply out of sync with the sentiment of the population isn’t clear. Either way, Texas is reopening quickly, and Texans will be on the beach and at backyard parties toasting those in Michigan and Oregon who can’t get together to celebrate Memorial Day or the Fourth of July.