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Michigan Revokes Licenses of 77-Year-Old Barber Defying Gov. Whitmer's Lockdown Order

Michigan Office of the Governor

Karl Manke, a 77-year-old barber who runs a shop in Owosso, Michigan, has had both his barber and business licenses suspended for violating Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order. As reported by The Detroit News, Manke's lawyer says his client is also facing a $1,000 fine and jail time of one year per haircut in a separate order from the Department of Health and Human Services. 


A state licensing board concluded the 77-year-old's haircutting poses a threat to the public health and issued the suspensions of the barber's licenses in an emergency action dated May 12. 

"After consideration of the documentation filed in this case, including the Affidavit of Sean Haskin, the Department concludes that the public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action, as allowed by section 505 of the Occupational Code and section 92 of the Administrative Procedures Act. THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED that Respondents’ barber and barbershop licenses in the state of Michigan shall be summarily suspended commencing on the date this order is served," the letter from the licensing department states. 

Despite the consequences, Manke is determined to keep his shop open, which reopened on May 4. 

"I’m 77," Manke told ABC12 News. "What, are they going to give me? Life? I’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I could care less."

The barber says the business is following safety guidelines, such as wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer and sterilizer, and practicing social distancing to help stop the spread of the virus.

Gov. Whitmer's response to the coronavirus has drawn ire from critics who find the governor's orders both baffling and draconian. While allowing some stores to remain open, the governor required stores to close off certain areas, such as carpeting, flooring, furniture, gardening and paint. But while healthy Michiganders couldn't buy garden seeds, the governor was placing coronavirus-positive seniors among healthy seniors in nursing homes. The governor has struggled to defend her policy. New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently changed his state's nursing home policy after weeks of criticism about the dangers the policy posed to vulnerable seniors. 


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