Michigan state regulators have suspended the license of 77-year-old barber Karl Manke, who pledged to keep his Owosso shop open “until Jesus comes” despite Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus order.
The Associated Press reports: A judge declined the state’s request to shut down his shop Monday without first holding a hearing. Regulators took a different path by suspending his barber license and his shop license. “It is paramount that we take action to protect the public and do our part to help save lives,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. Manke can ask for an immediate hearing with an administrative law judge at the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. “It’s pure retribution. It’s abuse of power: How dare you stand up to me?” said Manke’s attorney, Dave Kallman. … Manke has been hailed as a hero by some people who have driven an hour or more to get a haircut. “The government is not my mother, never has been,” Manke said Monday. “I’ve been in business longer than they’ve been alive.”
According to the WJRT, the Michigan Militia is vowing to defend Manke, who remained open Wednesday and said authorities will have to drag him out of the shop in handcuffs. Manke appeared Sunday on Fox & Friends.
More from the New York Times: Mr. Manke said he initially closed his business, Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty Shop, in March but reopened on May 4, as he grew increasingly concerned about his bills piling up. He wears a mask and recommends but does not require them for his customers, he said. State officials said Mr. Manke’s actions jeopardized public health and violated the governor’s order extending the closure of nonessential businesses to May 28. “Mr. Manke’s actions in violating Gov. Whitmer’s executive orders as well as other health orders put the public at risk for contracting Covid-19,” Michigan’s attorney general, Dana Nessel, said in a statement Wednesday. “Any time you have a barber or other professional providing services to numerous citizens in close proximity to each other and those citizens are then returning to their various residences, there is a risk of contracting and spreading the virus,” she said. “It is paramount that we take action to protect the public and do our part to help save lives.” Ms. Nessel’s office declined to say how it would enforce the suspension of the licenses, stating, “Our office is involved in pending legal action against Mr. Manke, so we cannot comment on these issues.”