Protesters got haircuts outside the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing on Wednesday (May 20) in the latest demonstration against Governor Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home orders.
Dubbed "Operation Haircut", the protest was held after Karl Manke, a 77-year-old Owosso city barber, drew national attention for refusing to close down.
Whitmer is facing an increasingly mainstream backlash against her stay-at-home orders, with a growing number of local officials and business leaders arguing the restrictions have outlived their usefulness.
Some Democratic lawmakers in Michigan have pointed to armed demonstrators at a series of high-profile protests at the Capitol in recent weeks as evidence that most of those who opposed her measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus were politically motivated right-wing activists.
Whitmer, who according to polls remains popular in Michigan, on Monday announced a partial economic re-opening in 32 northern counties beginning Friday, acknowledging that those areas had not been severely impacted by the coronavirus. Under the new rules, restaurants there will be able to resume operations subject to restrictions, such as limiting seating to 50% of normal capacity.
Whitmer, who has been floated as a potential running mate for likely Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in November's election, has acknowledged that the shutdown in swing state Michigan has been among the strictest in the country. The current stay-at-home order runs through May 28.
She has argued the strict response was merited with the state reporting the fourth highest death toll in the country from the virus - 5,017 deaths as of Tuesday.
President Donald Trump, who has criticized Whitmer and other governors for extending shutdowns, is scheduled to be in Michigan on Thursday to visit a Ford plant that is building ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients.