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A Michigan barber shop owner celebrated a big win in the battle to keep his business open in defiance of the state’s coronavirus shutdown orders.
Karl Manke will be allowed to keep his doors open following a ruling Monday by a Michigan judge who denied a motion by the state to have the shop closed for allegedly violating Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order.
“I cannot believe the support that I’ve gotten,” a grateful Manke said at a press conference with his attorney, David Kallman, on Monday.
The 77-year-old was issued two citations for reopening his Owosso shop last week against orders issued by Whitmer, who extended the state’s stay-at-home order until the end of May right after a lawsuit was filed by state lawmakers against her overreach.
Michigan militia members vow to block the door, won’t allow police to arrest 77-year-old barber https://t.co/GRivxBOwDP
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) May 11, 2020
The state Attorney General failed to obtain a temporary restraining order after claiming that Manke’s business is “an imminent danger to public health.”
“Today, the Shiawassee County Circuit Court denied the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ request for a temporary restraining order seeking to have Karl Manke cease all business operations at his Owosso barbershop,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
“The Court wanted to provide Mr. Manke with an opportunity for a hearing on the request for an injunction, despite the clear public health dangers that continued operation of his business creates,” the statement continued.
“The courts are going to be deciding these things. Are these executive orders legal or not. It’s our position that they’re not,” Manke’s attorney said at the press conference. “Certain businesses are favored, they can open. Other businesses are unfavored, they stay shut and their businesses get destroyed. That’s what we’re fighting in this case.”
“I had to get back to work, I feel it is my right to work,” Manke said, refusing to close the shop he has operated for decades.
“The government charged Karl with criminal misdemeanor violations for allegedly violating Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders (EO),” a stetement from the law group representing Manke read.
“All the EOs issued by the governor after April 30, 2020, however, are illegal and unlawful because the Legislature refused to extend her declared state of emergency past that date,” the statement added, noting that the citations were “personally served on Karl at his barber shop by six Michigan State Police Officers.”
Whitmer has come under heavy fire for administration’s overreach which has already sparked multiple protests in the state. Her updated order prevents Michigan residents from leaving their homes except “to run critical errands, to engage in safe outdoor activities or go to specified jobs.”
“I expect people to follow the law. These executive orders are not a suggestion, they’re not optional, they’re not helpful hints, this is an order to prevent the spread of COVID19,” she said at a press conference.
A county sheriff in the state announced Monday that his office would not be complying with the Democrat governor’s orders and enforcing the stay-at-home directive, citing calls from residents and “especially since the Michigan Legislature did not extend the state of emergency beyond April 30 as required by law.”
A letter from the Shiawassee County Sheriff’s office, (Michigan) stating they will NOT enforce the EO! This is the county this courageous barber is from! pic.twitter.com/pfPPyfcmkj
— Kara (@28kara) May 11, 2020
“The legality of that is a judicial branch determination,” Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian BeGole said in a written statement, pointing to his office’s “responsibility to serve and protect the citizens of Shiawassee County and to ensure their rights as described in both state and federal Constitution.”
“With limited resources, staffing and facilities, our priority focus will be on enforcing duly passed laws for the protection of Shiawassee County citizens,” he added. “I have decided, within my authority, that our office cannot and will not divert our primary resources and efforts towards enforcement of the Governor Whitmer’s executive orders.”
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