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'It's an Inalienable Right': Frustrated Americans Defy Quarantine, Say It's Time to Return to Work


In some states, people are back on the job, even in defiance of state orders. It is a growing movement as some Americans argue that the government has overstepped its bounds.

Seventy-seven-year-old Michigan barber Karl Manke has become a symbol of resistance for many people after defying Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's lockdown orders, considered by many in his state to be too restrictive. 

In business for 60 years, Manke won a court victory Monday in his fight to stay open. 

Supporters cheered Manke outside his shop during a press conference after a judge denied the state's request to sign a temporary restraining order against him and granted him a hearing.

"One week ago, today I made a decision that I was going to open my barbershop," said Manke. "There's an old serenity prayer that says God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. And I took the courage part of that."

Manke reopened his shop on May 4, violating the governor's executive order for non-essential businesses to remain closed and was given a cease and desist order.

"I had gone six weeks without a paycheck with no money coming in," Manke explained. "I've always worked. I've never looked for handouts. I don't even know what they are. I had somebody call and say why don't you get on food stamps. Well, I don't want food stamps. I want to work."

Manke says he has never seen anything like the government regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I've gone through 14 different administrations and I've never seen anything like this. I've never seen this type of oppression by a government ever - not even in the '60s," said Manke.  

The barber is not alone in Michigan.  

A county sheriff says his office won't enforce Gov. Whitmer's stay-at-home order intended to stop the spread of the coronavirus because the state legislature didn't approve her extension.

In a written statement, Shiawassee County Sheriff Brian Begole said, "With limited resources, staffing and facilities, our priority focus will be on enforcing duly passed laws for the protection of Shiawassee county citizens."

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In Texas, a Dallas salon owner continues to get support from the state's top Republicans after being released from jail last week.

Shelly Luther was fined and sentenced to seven days in jail for violating an order to shut her business during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently sat down for a trim at Luther's Salon a la Mode.

In Colorado, crowds filled C&C Coffee and Kitchen on Sunday in spite of the state mandate.

In Pennsylvania, some are also moving ahead regardless of the governor's plans.

Frustrated residents say they are ready to get back to work.

"This is wrong on every single level," said Cheryl Carrol.  "The collateral damage is going to be far worse than what is happening."

"I don't think it's a matter of the governor giving me the right," said Gene Snyder.  "It's an inalienable right."

And New York, the state at the center of the coronavirus outbreak, is looking at steps toward reopening, but no major changes will take place until June.

"It's an exciting new phase," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  "We're all anxious to get back to work."

Meanwhile, despite concerns about a possible second wave of coronavirus cases, some polls indicate less concern among the public.  And for now, a growing number of Americans who are worried about the economic damage from the lockdowns, say it is time to go back to work.

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