By Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2020

OWOSSO, Mich. — A 77-year-old barber who was in “despair” over Michigan’s business shutdown said he was given a ticket Wednesday that could cost him $1,000 or more after reopening his shop and cutting hair this week.

“I’m not trying to prove some point. I needed to get back to work,” Karl Manke said.

Manke’s shop in Owosso has been crowded with people who drove from as far as Traverse City, three hours away, for a $15 haircut.



Salons and barber shops were closed in late March by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who said they’re not essential during the coronavirus outbreak and could put people at risk through close contact.

“I don’t need the governor to be my mother. … I can make these adult decisions myself,” Manke said.

He said he worked 15-hours Monday and again Tuesday, wearing a mask as he cut hair and using an ultraviolet sanitizer on his tools.

“I was in despair. I don’t have anybody paying me unless I’m doing work,” Manke said.

He said two Owosso police officers wearing masks delivered a ticket for violating the governor’s order, which is a misdemeanor that can carry a $1,000 fine per day. Manke returned to cutting hair.

“I’m not going to close up unless they handcuff and carry me out of here,” he told The Associated Press. “I’m making a living. If I have to spend it all on court costs, I’ll do it. I’ll recover.”

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