Owosso barber remains defiant, still open despite cease and desist

Published: May. 9, 2020 at 11:23 PM EDT
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Friday night, a cease and desist order... Yet Saturday, hours later, he's right back at it again. Owosso Barber Karl Manke opened up his shop earlier this week despite now a slew of tickets and orders to close. His message is garnering both support and concern.

The resulting crowds have Karl Manke working 15 hour days. The Owosso barber picked up his shears again Monday – again, doing what Manke says he’s always loved – though he’s technically breaking the law.

“I’m 77,” says Manke plainly. “What, are they going to give me? Life? I’ve got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. I could care less.”

Six days now in defiance of the governor’s stay home stay safe order. Owosso Police say they’re now done writing Manke tickets and have referred his case to the prosecutor’s office. ABC 12’s cameras were rolling Friday as state troopers delivered another order -- this one from the attorney general’s office – which Manke says won’t stop him either.

“I’m following all the guidelines here,” explains Manke. “I’ve got the mask on, the sterilizer, hand sanitizer and trying to distance as best we can here.”

And yet, ABC 12 found another situation: people jam packed into the hallway, only a few of them wearing masks, which seems to be another violation of the law.

“The attorney general nor the governor is my mother,” shares a supporter. “I will not comply.”

One client drove in at five this morning from Grand Rapids, while another, Eric Liebold, came from an hour and a half away.

“I thought I’d take the chance to come out here,” relates Liebold. “I had no idea there were this many people.”

Manke says he’s well-aware of the risks, but defends his right to earn a living.

“As long as I have two hands and I’m capable of cutting hair, that’s my occupation,” argues Manke. “That’s what I do. That’s what I’m going to continue to do.”