Remember that defiant barber from Owosso? Then you probably saw this coming.
MICHIGAN — Last week The ‘Gander brought you the story of Karl Manke, a 77-year-old barber from Owosso. Manke refused to keep his barber shop closed during Gov. Whitmer’s stay at home order saying he wasn’t trying to prove a point with his defiant reopening on May 4.
“The government is not my mother, never has been,” Manke said Monday. “I’ve been in business longer than they’ve been alive.”
Manke was cited with a $1,000 ticket but said he would continue to cut hair. And continue to receive tickets.
“I’m not going to close up unless they handcuff and carry me out of here,” he said. “I’m making a living. If I have to spend it all on court costs, I’ll do it. I’ll recover.”
Handcuffs were not involved, but the barber shop has been shuttered. Again.
A public health order was issued against Manke last Friday. The state took the matter to court after he refused to close, where a Shiawassee County judge declined the state’s request to shut down his shop Monday without first holding a hearing. Regulators took a different path by suspending his barber license and his shop license.
Michigan’s Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) department released a statement calling the license suspension was necessary and that documents have been sent to Manke and his attorney.
“It is paramount that we take action to protect the public and do our part to help save lives,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.
Governor Whitmer has continued to warn Michigan businesses that noncompliance with statewide orders could result in penalties including license suspension.
“Karl has made it clear he has no animus towards anyone, the governor, attorney general, anyone. He just wants to work and he wants to do it in a safe, responsible way. And that’s what he’s doing with the masks, the separation, the cleaning, the hand sanitizer and all of that,” Manke’s attorney, David Kallman, said in a press conference.
Manke said he needs to work and can keep his shop and customers safe. He has been hailed as a hero by some people who have driven an hour or more to get a haircut. Supporters and sympathizers gathered in front of the barber shop Monday, slamming Gov. Whitmer’s stay-home order.
A woman who answered the phone at his shop Wednesday said Manke hadn’t been served with the suspension and was still cutting hair. A clipper could be heard buzzing in the background.
Manke confirmed that he was approved for the state’s unemployment insurance, but says it isn’t enough.
“$160 a week doesn’t even cover my light bill,” he said.
The Associated Press Contributed to this story.