Texas Admitted It Can’t Enforce Its COVID-19 Lockdown. More States Should Do The Same.
The extent and severity of the COVID-19 economic shutdowns vary from place to place, but the one thing almost all of them have in common is that they’re not really enforceable.
We may have reached the point where most people are realizing that.
Case in point: The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has decided to drop 200 enforcement investigations into barbers and cosmetologists who returned to work in recent weeks, The Dallas Morning News reports. The department is also dropping 180 cases that had not moved past the complaint stage—so stop tattling on your neighborhood salons, Texans—which seems like a clear admission that enforcing the shutdown is simply untenable.
The turning point, in Texas at least, probably came a few weeks ago when a Dallas salon owner, Shelley Luther, was sentenced to seven days in jail for reopening her business on April 24. The outrage over Luther’s arrest and sentencing eventually convinced Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, to remove jail time as a punishment for people who violated the state’s stay-at-home order.
The licensing department has now gone a step farther, saying it will allow “the reopening of cosmetology and barbering establishments retroactively to April 2,” wiping out any violations from the past six weeks.
In Wisconsin, where the state Supreme Court last week struck down a statewide stay-at-home order, counties are lifting their own lockdown orders due to “mounting confusion” over their legality. But the bigger question, again, might be their enforcability. I’ve seen a lot of coverage of Wisconsinites heading to bars in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling; I haven’t seen much evidence that people are getting arrested for violating local shutdown orders.
And in Washington, more than 25,000 complaints abou
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