Judge refuses to shut down Owosso barbershop

Posted at 11:39 AM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 11:39:19-04

A judge decided Monday to refuse a restraining order that would close a Shiawassee County barber shop that has remained open despite Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's executive orders amid the pandemic.

RELATED: Michigan barbershop staying open despite executive orders

The victory was announced by the attorney for Karl Manke, the owner of the Owosso barbershop.

"I have to work and I have a business and I'm trained and I decided this is what I'm going to do and open up my business," Manke told WILX last week.

The attorney for Manke broke the news during a press conference Monday afternoon. Attorney David Kallman says the curve has been flatted and Manke will be able to keep his shop open.

Manke opened up his shop about a week ago after the state legislature refused to extnd a state of emergency. Kallman, who is representing 77-year-old Manke, says the Michigan AG's complaint Monday asked a judge for a temporary restraining order to close the Owosso business of nearly 60 years.

RELATED: Michigan State Police visit Owosso barbershop that reopened against governor's orders

Circuit court Judge Matthew Stewart denied the request.

Manke says his shop can work safely with masks, gloves and by social distancing.

“I’ve gone six weeks without a paycheck," he said. "I’m 77, always worked and never wanted a handout. I don’t want food stamps. (I) want to work and the whole emphasis for this, 28 more days knocked me to my knees. I had to get back to work. I’ve never seen this type of oppression by a government.”

The Shiawassee County Sheriff also is not enforcing the executive order. Manke still faces two misdemeanors for reopening and more than $1,000 in fines as donations pour in from supporters.

Most barbershops and salons closed on March 21 due to the governor's executive orders. Gov. Whitmer said Monday during her daily COVID-19 press conference that she's standing by her decision to close some businesses, saying that public health comes first.