This is what Mayor Sylvester Turner had to say about Gov. Abbott’s decision to remove jail time for order violators

Mayor Sylvester Turner (KPRC)

HOUSTON – Gov. Greg Abbott modified his executive order to eliminate jail time for Texans or businesses who violate the restrictions after a Dallas salon owner was jailed for opening early.

“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,” Abbott said. "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.”

Turner responded to Abbott’s decision saying that once an enforcement mechanism is removed from an order, it is no longer an order.

“You can’t enforce something that you can’t enforce,” Turner said. “... once you put forth and order and you remove the enforcement mechanism, you have a statement not an order. It’s your recommendations, but there is no enforcement.”

Turner said he wants people to remember that this is still a healthcare crisis and even though the community’s collective efforts have worked, the virus is still around.

“What we are trying to do in the very best way is to manage the environment and manage the virus while we proceed to open up,” Turner said. “We can have a healthy society with this virus and we can start to recover economically with this virus ... is we don’t rush into it.”

Turner said his hope is that people won’t rush to open and that what the governor has done in is phasing will work.

“We have done our best to try to enforce his order,” Turner said. “...We are doing the best we can under the circumstances, but I hope people will exercise their common sense.”

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