Michigan Judge Won't Block Ban On Indoor Dining During COVID-19 Surge

Dec 2, 2020

In this Thursday, May 21, 2020, image, Stephanie Byrd, co-owner of The Block, poses for a photo with chairs on the tables while the restaurant is closed due to the coronavirus in Detroit.
Credit (AP PHOTO/PAUL SANCYA)

DETROIT (AP) — A judge has refused to block Michigan’s ban on indoor dining during a surge in coronavirus cases. Federal judge Paul Maloney says a “plausible explanation” for the state order exists: People can’t eat or drink without removing their mask, a step that could spread the virus. Maloney turned down a request for an injunction with a week left in the three-week indoor dining ban. Restaurants fear that the steady loss of customers could put them out of business. They also fear a possible extension of the order by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration. The ban on dining has been met with some defiance. At least four restaurants have been hit with $1,000-a-day fines for serving meals indoors.

The Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon issued the following statement on the court ruling:

“We are happy that today’s ruling keeps in place measures that will save lives by limiting specific indoor gatherings that greatly increase the risk of COVID-19 spread. The science is settled: public health experts from around the nation and world say these types of actions must be taken to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases. These protocols on specific indoor gatherings, along with wearing face masks, social distancing and frequent handwashing, give Michigan a fact-based approach to slow the spread of COVID-19 so we can return to a strong economy and get back to normal safely as soon as we can.”