Local judge signs order shutting down defiant barber


Barber Karl Manke, of Owosso, gives a free haircut on the steps of the State Capitol during a rally in Lansing, Mich., Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Barbers and hair stylists are protesting the state’s stay-at-home orders, a defiant demonstration that reflects how salons have become a symbol for small businesses that are eager to reopen two months after the COVID-19 pandemic began. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

OWOSSO, Mich. (AP) — A judge on Friday followed the orders of the Michigan appeals court and told a barber to immediately lock his shop for violating business restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Karl Manke has boldly thumbed his nose at state regulators and declared that he has a right to operate his shop in Owosso, about 40 miles northeast of Lansing.

The appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, had ordered a preliminary injunction Thursday, then returned with another order Friday, telling a Shiawassee County judge to sign the injunction immediately.

Manke declined to take a phone call Friday from The Associated Press.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has closed barbershops and hair salons for weeks, citing a risk for the spread of the coronavirus. Manke, however, reopened on May 4 and has refused to stop, despite having two licenses suspended.

“If they want to put me in jail, put me in jail,” he said.

Manke gave free haircuts last week during a protest at the state Capitol. Texas hair salon owner Shelley Luther, who was briefly jailed for opening her shop, appeared at a rally outside Manke’s business.

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