A small barber who attempted to reopen his business was forced to close by St. Paul Police, Monday.
When Milan Dennie, the owner of King Milan’s Barber Shop, was told to stop conducting business last month amidst the coronavirus, he complied. But once the twice extended shutdown left him “starving,” he enacted a plan to reopen his shop with an eye to sanitation. However, after serving just 16 customers, the police arrived, according to a local CBS affiliate.
Although Dennie’s decision did violate Walz’s economic restrictions, the struggling small business owner insists that he has no malicious intent. “I’m not trying to be disrespectful in any way to his rules or laws,” Dennie said, per Twin Cities news. He also made sure to implement a number of stringent safety measures, limiting the number of customers in his shop, handing out free masks and putting extra emphasis on the hygiene protocols required of barbers.
While Dennie and his patrons felt comfortable giving and receiving haircuts under these circumstances, the police disagreed, and chose to enforce Walz’s stay at home order. Dennie now faces up to $25,000 in fines.
Despite this, he feels that reopening was the right thing to do, as staying closed any longer would have meant certain doom for King Milan’s.
“We’re just behind by a lot. And it just seems like if we don’t start back working, we’re going to lose what we, you know, put everything into,” he said. “It’s [the shutdown] killing us,” he remarked after getting busted for giving haircuts.
A GoFundMe set up to help Dennie afford his impending legal fees has raised over $2,800 as community members give back to a generous local business owner.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, King’s Barber Shop has strived to assist its community by handing out 2,000 rolls of toilet paper and 1,000 containers of hand soap. Dennie also runs a nonprofit to give haircuts to underprivileged youth in the Twin Cities.