A federal court overturned a ruling by a lower judge and allowed an order closing gyms and fitness centers in the state of Michigan to remain in place.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order closed gyms and facilities where people gather in close proximity, such as movie theaters and bowling alleys, in March. Her plan is to allow such facilities to reopen beginning July 4 in much of the state if COVID-19 data continues trending in the right direction, according to the Associated Press. In less populous areas of the state, gyms were allowed to reopen June 10 with reduced class sizes and other restrictions.
The ruling by the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals overturned a ruling by District Judge Paul Maloney that would have allowed gyms to reopen on Thursday. In a 3-0 decision, the appeals court judges ruled that Whitmer’s order is constitutional.
“Shaping the precise contours of public health measures entails some difficult line-drawing. Our Constitution wisely leaves that task to officials directly accountable to the people,” they wrote, adding that the governor’s interest in combating the outbreak is at least as significant as the interests of the gym owner’s who sued. “To date, the disease has infected thousands of Michiganders, and it has shown the potential to infect many more. That the public interest weighs in favor of a stay is apparent for the same reason."
Tiffany Brown, a spokesperson for Whitmer, praised the decision.
“Today three Republican-appointed judges got it right: In the fight against a global pandemic, courts must give governors broad latitude to make quick, difficult decisions,” said Brown. “The governor will continue to take the actions necessary to save lives.”