Michigan suspends license of barber who opened during Stay Home order

The state of Michigan has suspended the business license for a barber who opened during the COVID-19 Stay Home order.

According to Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) the business license of Karl Manke has been suspended. Manke is a barber in Owosso who opened on May 4 despite Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's order that non-essential businesses close.

In a statement from LARA, the license was suspended and necessary documents have been sent to Manke and his attorney but LARA would not comment any further. 

The mid-Michigan barber attracted national attention when he reopened on May 4th despite the pandemic and Whitmer's executive order forcing non-essential businesses to close and her Stay Home, Stay Safe order.

The Governor had warned businesses in March that if they refused to comply with her order of closing, they face penalties including the suspension of business licenses.

After Manke reopened, the state tried to force him to close through the courts, but a Shiwasse County judge ruled that his barbershop can remain open for now.

The said earlier this week that, after going without pay for six weeks, things were looking dire. 

"You know our bills were beginning to pile up, our light bill. They offered me $160 a week, finally last week I got one unemployment thing for $160 - that doesn't even cover my light bill," he says. 

The state issued a public health order against Manke last Friday and then took the matter to court after he refused to close. 

"Karl has made it clear he has no animus towards anyone, the governor, attorney general, anyone. He just wants to work and he wants to do it in a safe, responsible way. And that's what he's doing with the masks, the separation, the cleaning, the hand sanitizer and all of that," says attorney David Kallman. 

Manke's supporters and sympathizers rallied in front of his shop Monday, bolstering his cause and slamming Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-home order.