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Texas hair salon owner who defied COVID-19 restrictions to visit Owosso barber Monday

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Shelley Luther, whose Texas hair salon gained national attention for defying COVID-19 restrictions, will visit the barber who's waging a similar fight in Michigan.

According to a Facebook post, Luther, who was briefly jailed for her actions, will be at Karl Manke's Owosso barbershop at 2 p.m. Monday.

"Bringing some Texas SASS to Michigan to help 77 yo barber, Karl Manke," Luther posted Friday, as she stood in front of a "Welcome to Pure Michigan" sign.

Gaining his own national attention, Manke has continued to operate his barbershop despite an order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that Michigan barbershops and hair salons close to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, a virus that's now been linked to 4,891 deaths in the state.

Manke's license and the shop’s license were temporarily suspended Wednesday by the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for violating Whitmer’s executive order that such businesses should be closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salon owner Shelley Luther reacts as supporters chant for her after she was released from jail in Dallas, Thursday, May 7, 2020. Luther was jailed for refusing to keep her business closed amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19.

Last Monday, a Shiawassee County Circuit Court judge denied Attorney General Dana Nessel's request to issue a temporary restraining order that would close the shop while the state pursued its permanent closure under the public health code.

Manke has pledged to keep the doors open.

As for Luther, she spent less than 48 hours in jail after a Texas judge sentenced her to a week behind bars for defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency restrictions, according to the Associated Press. Abbott, a Republican, later removed jail as a potential punishment for violating his order.

cmauger@detroitnews.com

Staff Writers Beth LeBlanc and Francis X. Donnelly contributed.