- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 10, 2020

A Michigan barber said Sunday he plans to stay open in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s extended order on nonessential businesses, insisting that the Democratic governor “has no concept at all of the damage she’s doing.”

Owosso barber Karl Manke, 77, received a cease-and-desist order Friday from the state Department of Health and Human Services, delivered by state police, after his shop reopened Monday. Ms. Whitmer has extended closure of nonessential businesses to May 28.

“This has absolutely brought me to my knees. I just couldn’t do that. I’m a small business owner,” said Mr. Manke on “Fox & Friends.” “She has no concept at all of the damage she’s doing to this state, and to families.”

Mr. Manke, who has been in business since 1961, said he closed his shop March 21 as the state shut down for the novel coronavirus pandemic.

He and his customers wore masks last week at Karl Manke’s Barber & Beauty, as shown in video and photos, and used an ultraviolet sanitizer to disinfect his tools, but Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office said his operation represented an “imminent risk” to public health.

“Mr. Manke’s actions are not a display of harmless civil disobedience,” Nessel spokesman Ryan Jarvi told the Detroit News. “His actions are counterproductive to the collective effort businesses and communities everywhere have made to slow the spread of COVID-19, and by opening the doors to his business, he’s putting the lives of many more Michiganders at risk.”

Ms. Whitmer on Thursday extended Michigan’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, which was scheduled to expire May 15, for another two weeks while allowing some manufacturing companies to reopen.

Mr. Manke’s court date is set for June 23, and he could face a fine of $1,000.

Protesters from the pro-reopening group Stand Up Michigan waved signs and flags at a rally in front of his shop as they urged the governor to reopen the state.

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