- Associated Press - Thursday, May 7, 2020

DALLAS — A Texas salon owner who defied Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency orders and was jailed for keeping her business open walked out free Thursday to cheering supporters after the governor weakened his enforcement of coronavirus safeguards and a court-ordered her released.

Shelley Luther, owner of a Salon A La Mode in Dallas, wore a mask while leaving jail less than 48 hours after a judge sentenced her to a week behind bars for flouting public health orders meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Her punishment had become a rallying cry for Republican lawmakers and conservative activists who have railed against lockdown measures in Texas, even as the state reopens at a speed faster than many others in the U.S.

Luther, who refused to apologize or promise to keep her business closed even after a Dallas judge said dong so might keep her out of jail, said she was overwhelmed as she walked toward a crowd chanting her name. In April, Luther tore up a cease-and-desist letter in front of TV cameras at an “Open Texas” rally in the Dallas suburbs.

“I just want to thank all of you who I just barely met, and now you’re all my friends,” Luther said after leaving jail. “This would have been nothing without you. Thank you so, so much.”

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