Judge told to rule on Owosso barber's closure by Thursday

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

A Shiawassee County Circuit Court judge must rule by 5 p.m. Thursday whether or not an Owosso barber shop operating in violation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-home order should be shut down.

A Court of Appeals panel ruled Monday that Judge Matthew Stewart should hold a hearing on the state’s motion to temporarily close the barbershop and decide on the request by the end of the day Thursday. 

Karl Manke cuts the hair of Tim Lundy, of Owosso, at the Karl Manke Barber Shop on Wednesday in Owosso. Lundy has been getting his hair cut by Karl his entire life.

Attorney General Dana Nessel had appealed a ruling last week from Stewart when the judge denied a request to immediately close the shop through a temporary restraining order. 

Nessel filed the request on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, which has argued that Karl Manke’s continued operation is an threat to public health. 

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Separately, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs summarily suspended Manke’s hair-cutting license last week because of his continued operation. Manke, 77, stopped cutting hair for a few days, but was back at it Tuesday even with his license suspended. 

“Who cares?” he said. “What are they going to give me? Life?”

Manke reopened his shop May 4 after being shut down since March 21. 

He received a misdemeanor citation from local police that week prior to Michigan State Police serving him with a cease and desist order May 8 from Nessel and the Department of Health and Human Services. 

Manke said he’d heard about the Monday Court of Appeals order and the pending hearing in Shiawassee County Circuit Court but planned to continue cutting hair. 

“I’ve never had an order to allow me to do anything,” he said.