Michigan State Police visit Owosso barbershop that opened against orders

Karl Manke he's received overwhelming support from the community after defying Gov. Gretchen...
Karl Manke he's received overwhelming support from the community after defying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's orders and opening his doors for business. (Source: WILX)(WJRT)
Published: May. 8, 2020 at 6:57 PM EDT
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(5/8/2020) - Michigan State Police served paperwork from the Attorney General's Office ordering Owosso barber Karl Manke to shut down his shop again.

Manke reopened for business on Monday in violation of Michigan's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order. Barbershops and hairstyling businesses are deemed non-essential under the order, so they cannot open.

The Owosso Police Department warned Manke once and then wrote him two tickets charging him with violating an executive order. Police then turned the case over to the Shiawassee County Prosecutor's Office.

After receiving the order from Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Friday evening, Manke remained defiant and refused to close the barbershop.

He called the situation a 10-round fight and said he's only in the fifth round.

Crowds of supporters have not dwindled outside Manke's shop as a steady stream of customers went inside for a haircut. Manke said he's been working 15-hour days this week.

But those not rushing to get a trim at the barbershop are a bit concerned.

"The fact that he's open, people gotta live, they gotta earn their money, but i'm trying to follow the rules as best as possible," said Richard Lowe of Owosso.

Amy Ackles wishes social distancing rules and personal protection were enforced more outside Manke's shop.

"Lining up outside, that's why we're going to be home all summer, because if you notice people are congregating. Half of them don't have masks on," she said.

Both Lowe and Ackles understand this is a frustrating time and there's no easy way out. They just want to make sure that, as the economy does begin to slowly reopen, people are responsible about it.

Manke said at 77 years old this is his livelihood. He plans to continue his craft despite the pressure to follow state orders at the risk of arrest, fines or a loss of his professional license.