LPD: Lansing barber falls in line after flouting COVID-19 precautions

Cops find ‘no violations’ after advertisement for ‘no mask required’ haircuts

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THURSDAY, Oct. 15 — A Lansing barber that advertised “no mask required” haircuts on Facebook now appears to have fallen in line with local health orders after a visit from the police.

Brian Caskey, co-owner of Classic Barber Shop on Michigan Avenue in Lansing, appeared to be flouting COVID-19 precautions on Facebook last week with promises of mask-free haircuts. A graphic that featured his logo also told Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to “suck it.”

But when a patrol officer at the Lansing Police Department was called to the scene this week by the Ingham County Health Department, Caskey was nowhere to be found. His staff was wearing masks. A bottle of hand sanitizer was available. Another co-owner was “cooperative,” cops said.

“The officer was advised that (Caskey) was not there and only there on occasion,” an LPD spokesman told City Pulse today. “There was no violation observed at the time of contact. There will be no further investigation into this complaint unless new accusations are received.”

The Michigan Supreme Court invalidated the bulk of Whitmer’s executive orders that mandated face masks and other precautions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has submitted a nearly complete replacement.

Under the newly implemented emergency orders, face masks must be worn at all indoor and outdoor gatherings that are defined as “any occurrence where persons from multiple households are present in a shared space in a group of two or more” — like a barber shop — and requires businesses to enforce those requirements for gatherings on their premises.

Caskey appeared to be open on an appointment-only basis last week, but just him and a single unrelated customer inside his store could arguably constitute a “group of two or more.”

Ingham County, as also allowed under state law, has also issued its own orders that mandate face coverings be worn in any indoor public space and bars businesses from providing service to maskless customers — with limited exceptions for children and those with medical issues.

A violation of either order is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a $200 fine. An individual may also be arrested if a violation occurs in the presence of a police officer or if the police officer has a “reasonable cause” to believe the individual violated the local orders.

Both restrictions delegate investigation and enforcement of suspected violations to local health departments, which can work in conjunction with state regulatory agencies — like the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs or the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration — that can also revoke business licenses, craft sanctions and implement fines.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail has said that a report will also be filed with state regulators, though they’re likely to reach a similar conclusion to LPD if no violations really exist.

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