A Michigan barber will be allowed to continue cutting hair after a state judge Thursday rebuffed the attorney general's request for an emergency order to close his shop as a health hazard amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Lansing State Journal reported.
Shiawassee County Circuit Court Judge Matthew Stewart rejected the state's request to order Owosso barber Karl Manke stop cutting hair. Despite an affidavit from Michigan Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun that Manke's shop was a public heath danger, Stewart said state Attorney General Dana Nessel failed to prove her case.
"(The attorney general) has not presented any studies underlying the doctor's conclusion," Stewart wrote in his opinion. "(Nessel) has not shown any nexus between the cutting of hair and an increased risk of transmission. (Her) filings rest more on general facts about COVID-19 than specific practices or conditions at (Manke's) business."
Manke has been operating his barber shop since May 4 in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive "stay at home" orders, imposed to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
His business license was suspended by the state May 13, and he has received two citations, one for violating Whitmer's stay at home requirement and another from the county health department.
Stewart added, while the attorney general claims "every second (Manke) operates constitutes a new irreparable injury," the fact she is trying to impose a civil penalty rather than a criminal one by arresting him contradicts her argument.
A spokesman for the attorney general's office said they would appeal.
Manke has become a hero to many in Michigan, and across the country, who want an elimination or at least an easing of restrictions on businesses and individuals that limit social gatherings. He was the celebrity at a protest in the state capital of Lansing on Wednesday called "Operation Haircut" organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition.
Manke and other barbers cut people's hair on the steps of the state capitol while others chanted and displayed signs to express opposition to Whitmer's executive orders.
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