Still in business: Judge rules Owosso barbershop can stay open

Owosso barber Karl Manke discusses a court ruling in his favor that allows him to remain open.
Owosso barber Karl Manke discusses a court ruling in his favor that allows him to remain open.(WJRT)
Published: May. 11, 2020 at 6:33 PM EDT
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(05/11/2020) - A Shiawassee County Circuit Court judge has ruled in favor of Owosso barber Karl Manke, allowing him to stay open despite the executive orders barring shops like his from taking customers.

The judge denied a temporary restraining order on Monday that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sought to close the barbershop, which is violating an order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Barbershops, hairstyling salons and spas all are deemed non-essential, so they aren't allowed to operate during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Show the proof. Show that people are actually being harmed," said attorney David Kallman, who is representing Manke.

The decision comes hours after Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole released a statement saying he would not enforce Whitmer's executive orders.

Manke said the barbershop is his only source of income and he needed to reopen to survive. He has said three applications for unemployment benefits were not successful.

Manke, who has worked nearly 60 of his 77 years as a barber, said he hadn't received a paycheck in six weeks before he decided to reopen last week.

"I've always worked. I've never looked for handouts. I don't even know what they are," Manke said. "I had somebody call me and say, 'Well why didn't you get on food stamps?' I don't want food stamps, I want to work."

The Owosso Police Department issued to misdemeanor tickets last week before turning over the situation to prosecutors. Manke is scheduled to appear in court on June 23 for those civil infractions.