Emergency orders that “non-essential businesses” remain closed during the Covid-19 crisis have devastated small business owners across America. A wave of business owners across the nation are defying executive orders by their governors and opening their businesses anyhow.

Yesterday, we reported about a small business owner in the state of Michigan, where Governor Gretchen Whitmer has imposed arguably the most draconian lockdown orders of any state, defied his state’s executive order, and opened his barber and beauty shop to the public.

WLNS reports- Karl Manke’s Barber and Beauty Shop has been in the Owosso community since 1961 and this week the owner decided to open the doors again, despite state orders to remain closed.

A photo on Karl Manke’s Barber and Beauty Shop Facebook page reminds everyone of how so many businesses that have been around for decades in Michigan are in danger of shutting down.

Photo from Karl Manke’s Barber and Beauty Shop Facebook page

To help limit the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is requiring businesses such as hair, nail, tanning, and spas to remain closed until May 28th.

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.

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Manke claims that since he made the decision to open his doors, dozens of people have come by.

Karl Manke – Facebook photo

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.

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Comments on Karl Manke’s Barber and Beauty Shop Facebook page praise Karl’s Salon and suggest everyone in Michigan should visit his salon to get their hair cut.

MLive reports – The 77-year-old barber, who has cut hair in town for 60 years, opened Karl Manke’s Barbershop on Monday in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order mandating salons, barbershops and other businesses to stay closed.

“I don’t need the governor to be my mother,” he said. “I have one. God bless her, she’s gone now. I don’t need another mother. I can make these adult decisions myself.”

The barber expected to work another 14-hour day Tuesday. He said he worked from 10 a.m. to midnight Monday.

Polka music plays inside the barbershop as Manke cuts hair. A “best barber” award from a local newspaper hangs on the shop’s wall. Manke is also a writer. All eight of his books are on display in the barbershop, novels with titles like “Gone to Pot,” “The Adventures of Railcar Rogues” and his latest, “Harsen’s Island Revenge.”

The youngest person in his chair Tuesday was 19 years old and his oldest client was 90. People drove from Saginaw, Milford and Lansing to show Manke’s barbershop support.

Kathy Tran drove to Manke’s shop from Milford after seeing a Facebook post saying he was open.

“We came out here to support him,” Tran said. “Our main goal is to support the community and small businesses. I feel like every business should be open and they can do it safely.”

Manke said he couldn’t afford to stay closed. The demand for haircuts is high and he said he could not wait for the shutdown to be lifted.

“I can … run my business how I feel I should run it,” Manke said. “To tell you the truth, I am scared but I didn’t really have any choice. I need to work through that fear and open up.”

“I’ll be open until Jesus walks in or until they arrest me,” Manke said.

The barber says he does not have a choice but to work. He has had trouble enrolling for unemployment and getting his stimulus check. He has used all his credit.

“I can’t go that long without an income, I just can’t do it,” Manke said.

Manke believes he is responsible enough to determine what is needed to protect his clientele and that they have the right to determine whether they are comfortable with coming in for a haircut.

The shop’s chairs, doorknobs and bathrooms are sanitized, he says. Manke wears a mask and sanitizes his hands between cuts.

All Manke’s scissors, clippers, combs and razors are sanitized with a UV light, safety precautions Manke has been practicing for 60 years.

Manke said the building housing his shop is big enough to adhere to seating people six feet apart.

Last week, we reported about how Shelley Luther, owner of the Salon Á La Mode in North Dallas, Texas, who opened up her business in defiance of lockdown orders in the city. The salon owner said that she was ignoring a citation and a cease and desist order from the city to shut down. This one act of defiance created a big protest one day later where salon owner Shelley Luther publicly ripped up the citation before a crowd of about 100 people.

There were a handful of people outside the salon supporting the owner’s decision, which she says was made despite the risk of a stiff fine.

Luther spoke out about her rights:

“I want them to know we have rights, but if you cannot afford to pay us and feed our families and help us because the systems are so backlogged, then you have to let us work.”

Yesterday, Shelley Luther was sentenced to 7 days in jail and will have to pay a $7,000 fine for defying the state’s executive order.

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