Last week, we reported about a small business owner in Owosso, Michigan, a small community in Shiawassee County, who defied his state’s executive order and opened his barber and beauty shop to the public.
WLNS spoke to the 77-yr-old owner, Karl Manke, of Karl Manke’s Barber and Beauty Shop. Manke has been in the Owosso community since 1961, and last week the owner decided to open the doors again, despite state orders to remain closed.
After being denied twice by unemployment, Karl Manke said he had enough.
“The governor decided she was going to go another two weeks, and then another two weeks, and now this last time when she said we weren’t going to come back May 1st, that we were going to be secluded here until the 28th– it brought me to my knees.,” Manke said.
Karl says support has come from all over.
“I had a policeman stop by this morning, and I thought, okay here it is—it’s done. He said, ‘I love you,’ and walked out,” Manke said.
Owosso police last week cited Manke for a civil infraction and two misdemeanors. A court date is set for June 23, and he faces a more than $1,000 fine.
Governor Whitmer made it clear that Manke will face the consequences of defying her order.
In a Monday news conference in Lansing, Whitmer warned that her executive orders carry the force of law. There are quite a few novel coronavirus cases in Shiawassee County, she said, and the hospital system is concerned.
Through Monday, the county had accumulated 211 cases and 17 deaths since the first COVID-19 cases were reported statewide more than two months ago. Michigan has more than 47,550 cases and nearly 4,600 deaths.
With roughly 15,000 residents, Owosso is the largest city in the mostly rural Shiawassee County. The population density in Shiawassee County is a tenth that of Oakland County, one of the hardest-hit counties in Michigan and roughly 20 miles southeast of Shiawassee County.
“Most businesses in the state have a license that is granted from the state, and they are putting themselves at risk by putting their customers and themselves at risk by opening prematurely,” Whitmer said.
Manke promised to fight the restrictions on his business “until Jesus comes.”