An Owosso barber is defying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s executive order and is working out of his shop.
“I’ve never seen this type of oppression by a government ever,” said Karl Mankee, owner of Manke’s Barber and Beauty Shop.
Whitmer said she’s limiting what businesses are safe to open. This is to decrease the spread of COVID-19.
“In Shiawassee County, we have quite a few COVID-19 cases. We know the hospital system is concerned as well as health systems across our state. The plans we’ve executed have worked. We need to stay the course and do this in a smart way,” Whitmer said.
Manke said that the state has no way of knowing where the virus spreads from and he does not want to take that responsibility.
“How would we know if it came from my barbershop or the Walmart store? I don’t want to take responsibility for anybody’s sickness,” Manke said.
Manke said he’s keeping his shop clean.
Manke hired Attorney David Kallman and has filed a lawsuit against the state.
“Certain businesses are favored, they can open, some businesses they stay shut. And those businesses get destroyed,” Kallman said.
TV5 asked Civil Rights Attorney Karen Truszkowsi what Manke’s lawsuit would need to prove against the state to win.
“They would have to show that the government does not have an important objective that would validate that restriction. In other words, does the government have a rational basis for putting restrictions on certain in the community,” Truszkowski said.
Some are worried that Whitmer could try to shut the business down or revoke his business license.
“What if they take action against Karl? Then we will fight that also,” Kallman said.
The Shiawassee County Court denied the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s request for a temporary restraining order to have Manke cease all operations.
The Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Department said it will not enforce Whitmer’s executive order.
Whitmer said she is trying to save lives.
“The devastation from a second wave could dwarf the hardships we’ve already encountered. We’ve made these sacrifices, let’s not make them in vain,” Whitmer said.
The state is looking to schedule a hearing with the Shiawassee County Court as soon as possible.