A Texas salon owner who was jailed for opening up her shop last week and violating the state’s coronavirus rules said that she had received $18,000 in stimulus funds under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) from the government, days after she applied for it.
Shelley Luther who was arrested for defying Republican Governor Greg Abbott's COVID-19 orders by keeping her business open was sentenced to a week in jail. However, 48 hours after she was sentenced, the public outcry by conservatives and GOP lawmakers led to him weakening his own mandate. The Governor has now removed 'jail' as a punishment for defying the virus protocols, thereby diluting the toughest form of enforcement of his own order.
"We should not be taking these people and put them behind bars, these people who have spent their life building up a business," Abbott told reporters in the Oval Office.
Shelly, however, alleged that she was forced to keep her business open because of the 'confusion' surrounding the Paycheck Protection Program. PPP is a federal scheme wherein a loan can be provided to the applier as a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
She revealed that she indeed had received $18,000 under the PPP a few days before her court date saying the cash was dropped into her account 'without warning or instructions.' She said that by that time she had already kept her salon open all this while since she had no definite time frame when she would receive her PPP.
Shelly made headlines for keeping her salon open and choosing jail time over apologizing for violating the rule and paying a fine.
"I just want to thank all of you who I just barely met, and now you're all my friends, This would have been nothing without you. Thank you so, so much," Luther said after leaving jail.