The owner of a St. Paul barbershop reopened for business Monday in defiance of Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order.
Milan Dennie, owner of the King Milan’s Barbershop, said he presented state licensing boards with a plan for safely reopening but has yet to hear back.
“We can’t survive. I’m not trying to be disrespectful in any way to his rules or laws but it’s unfair,” he told Frederick Melo of the Pioneer Press.
Dennie doesn’t think it makes sense that places like liquor stores can remain open and be packed with customers while his barbershop has to close.
“How is that more essential than, you know, what I’m doing? And I’m a professional. I’m a business owner required by the state to go to school and to learn how to deal with these types of circumstances,” he continued. “That’s not fair. So I just can’t see myself following an unjust law. It’s not the law to me and we starving. No, it’s not fair.”
Governor’s orders aren’t fair, says St. Paul barbershop owner and consummate community volunteer Milan Dennie, who presented state licensing boards with a social distancing and has yet to hear back. Liquor stores but not barbers? So he’s open and here’s how, why: “We starving.” pic.twitter.com/Z5gS5cYBRo
— Frederick Melo, Reporter (@FrederickMelo) May 4, 2020
In a recent Facebook post, Dennie said only five customers will be allowed in the shop at a time and all barbers will wear CDC-approved masks at all times. Additional customers will be asked to take a number and wait outside until their number is called. The capes worn by customers are cleaned and sanitized after each haircut.
A GoFundMe page was created Monday to help Dennie cover the cost of any legal fees he might face as a result of opening early.
“Mr. Dennie is a philanthropist who donates his services for free back-to-school haircuts for kids,” the page states, calling him a “brave patriot and the first business owner to stand up for freedom in Minnesota.”
According to a profile of Dennie in Minnesota Monthly, he moved to St. Paul in 2014 from Gary, Indiana and opened his barbershop“about three days later.”
“I came here to start a new life,” he said.
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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].