Customers Alerted Their New York Barber Who Kept Shop Open Is COVID-19 Positive

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Officials in Kingston, New York are warning anyone who got a haircut at a barbershop in the city in the last three weeks to contact their doctor and seek testing for COVID-19, after a barber who was allegedly illegally giving haircuts tested positive for the virus. 

The barber and shop were not identified, although his shop is one of four on one street in Kingston, 90 miles of New York City. Officials fear he and his customers may have exposed hundreds of other people to the virus. 

Barbershops and salons that have stayed open during the pandemic have become a controversial topic across the United States.

In Michigan, 77-year-old barber Karl Manke defied the governor's orders to shut down, and he has since been stripped of his license. 

"It's turning into a police state," Manke said. "When they took my license away, that's a police state tactic." 

Shelley Luther, a Texas salon owner jailed for re-opening in defiance of the state's stay-at-home orders, told Inside Edition she's on her way to Michigan to support Manke. 

"What is happening is unjust," Luther said. "He's a 77-year-old man just trying to feed himself, and it's ridiculous that he can't stay open. I feel like he'll get his license back."

Per an order from the Texas Supreme Court, Luther was released from jail last week, two days into a seven-day sentence imposed by Dallas County Judge Eric Moye for reopening her salon in defiance of a statewide order prohibiting non-essential business from operating during the pandemic.

Efforts to support the mom of three have included a GoFundMe that raised nearly a half-million dollars and calls for her release, including from the governor of Texas. "As I have made clear through prior pronouncements, jailing Texans for non-compliance with executive orders should always be the last available option," Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement last Wednesday.

President Donald Trump lauded Abbott's work to release Luther and retweeted a tweet calling for voters to replace Moye in November, the Dallas Morning News reported

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