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Michigan suspends license of 77-year-old barber who defied coronavirus order closing non-essential businesses

Karl Manke, 77, waves to people gathered just before a press conference on Monday, May 11, 2020 at Karl Manke's Barber & Beauty Shop in Owosso. (Sarahbeth Maney | MLive.com/TNS)

The license for 77-year-old Owosso barber Karl Manke who reopened his doors for business has been suspended by the state’s licensing agency.

A summary suspension order was issued Wednesday, May 13, by the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs against Karl Manke Main St Barber & Beauty Shop.

People gather during a press conference on Monday, May 11, 2020 at Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty Shop in Owosso.
(Sarahbeth Maney | MLive.com/TNS)

“LARA has summarily suspended Mr. Manke’s license and has sent the documents to Mr. Manke and his attorney,” said a statement from the stage agency. “As with any pending case, we cannot provide further comment.”

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Lines of customers formed outside the shop since it reopened May 4, with some people demostrating in support of Manke and his business.

The summary suspension order comes two days after Shiawassee County Circuit Court Judge Matthew J. Stewart turned down a request by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, filed on behalf of the state Department of Health and Human Services, for a temporary restraining order to close the business.

People record on their cellphones during a press conference on Monday, May 11, 2020 in front of Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty Shop in Owosso.
(Sarahbeth Maney | MLive.com/TNS)

MDHHS issued a Health Protection Order on May 8 and made the move for the temporary restraining order in court — filed by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office on behalf of MDHHS — after he did not close.

In his three-page opinion, Stewart said while state police troopers traveled to the shop to serve the order, they did not take Manke into custody “for committing criminal acts in their presence.”

“This would have immediately ended the imminent public health threat claimed by Plaintiff,” noted Stewart. “However, Plaintiff did not enforce its own abatement order. Instead, it waited through the weekend to file this action. If the public health did not require Defendant’s immediate warrantless arrest, then the public health does not require depriving him of notice.”

Karl Manke, 77, left, speaks during a press conference alongside his attorney David A. Kallman on Monday, May 11, 2020 at Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty Shop in Owosso.
(Sarahbeth Maney | MLive.com/TNS)

Manke reopened for customers May 4 in defiance of an executive order previously issued by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that closed barber shops, salons and other “non-essential” businesses to slow the spread of COVID-19.

He continued to cut hair Wednesday afternoon, as Manke has not yet been served with the summary suspension order.

David A. Kallman, Manke’s attorney, has called Whitmer’s executive order illegal and unlawful as it comes without the backing of state lawmakers who declined to extend the state of emergency beyond April 30.

Karl Manke, 77, becomes emotional while speaking during a press conference on Monday, May 11, 2020 at Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty Shop in Owosso.
(Sarahbeth Maney | MLive.com/TNS)

Those who violate the governor’s executive order are subject to a 90-day misdemeanor and/or a $500 fine.

During a May 11 press conference outside the barber shop, Kallman said he would file motions to dismiss a citation given to Manke by Owosso police with two misdemeanors for violation of the order.

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© 2020 MLive.com