Home Scandal and Gossip Come arrest me: Owosso barber says he will stay upon despite MI...

Come arrest me: Owosso barber says he will stay upon despite MI stay at home orders

Karl Manke Owosso barber
Pictured, Karl Manke Owosso barber.
Karl Manke Owosso barber
Pictured, Karl Manke Owosso barber.

Karl Manke Owosso barber insists he will stay open despite Michigan stay at home order amid public health crises as he struggles to stay afloat. 

A 77 year old Michigan barber has vowed to stay open despite that state’s stay at home orders amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic sweeping the US.

Karl Manke’s defiant stance comes despite police arriving at his barber shop in Ossowo on Wednesday, where he was ticketed and handed a citation in front of a crowd of customers waiting for a haircut

Manke now faces a $1000 fine and possible license sanctions, with the defiant ‘Barber & Beauty’ owner insisting he will continue to cut hair. 

‘I’m not going to close up unless they handcuff and carry me out of here,’ he told MLive.

‘I’m making a living. If I have to spend it all on court costs, I’ll do it. I’ll recover.’  

Manke is expected to appear in court on June 6, while vowing to remain open.

‘Oh heavens yes. I’ll be open until Jesus comes,’ Manke reiterated.

‘I’m being used as a pawn’ 

Gov Gretchen Whitmer has ordered all non-essential businesses to stay closed until at least May 15. Barbershops and salons have been shuttered across Michigan since March 21. 

Manke – who has been a barber for 60 years – decided to reopen on Monday, saying six weeks without work had left him in ‘despair’. 

‘It collapsed me, mentally, physically and spiritually,’ Manke told The Lansing State Journal. 

He later told Michigan Live that he had run through his credit and was having trouble accessing unemployment payments and stimulus funding. 

‘I can’t go that long without an income, I just can’t do it,’ he stated. 

Unclear is what measures, if any, state and federal agencies were availing individuals such as Manke, who through no fault of their own, were suddenly unable to provide for their own living.

Of note, Manke said he felt like he was a pawn during the unfolding crises with federal and state government authorities at odds with each other as the 77 year old is seemingly left to his own devices to stay afloat amid contradictory efforts to help individuals like him stay afloat.

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Personal survival vs the public good: 

On Monday, Manke worked from 10am until midnight, servicing a steady stream of customers – some of whom had traveled from three hours away. The 77 year old pulled another 14-hour shift on Tuesday.  

‘I’m doing walk-ins, appointments, working people in between appointments…It’s been nonstop,’ Manke told The Lansing Journal Tuesday. 

‘It’s hard, but I love doing it. I’m so grateful I can make a living again.’ 

On Wednesday, cops arrived at the barbershop and issued Manke with the citation, but he continued to keep cutting hair. 

Despite facing a hefty fine for violating government orders, the barber says he is doing all he could to keep clientele safe. 

Waiting customers were seated six feet apart and scissors, clippers, combs and razors were sanitized under a UV light. 

Manke also wore a mask and made sure to wash his hands after each cut.   

‘I don’t need the governor [Whitmer] to be my mother,’ he told Michigan Live.

‘I have one. God bless her, she’s gone now. I don’t need another mother. I can make these adult decisions myself’.

Gov  Whitmer has extended stay-at-home orders until at least May 15. 

At least 45,054 Michigan residents have tested positive to COVID-19, and 4,250 have died as of Wednesday night.

Manke told Michigan Live he was not trying to make a political statement, and does not discount the seriousness of COVID-19. 

However, he says: ‘This is something that’s going to be with us for a while. We have to live with it.’