Michigan Gov. Whitmer can keep gyms closed amid coronavirus reopening, federal appeals court rules

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Michigan Gov. Whitmer can keep gyms closed amid coronavirus reopening, federal appeals court rules

A federal appeals court in Michigan has worked out that gym customers won’t be returning to their indoor sweat sessions just yet.Gov. Gretchen Whit

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A federal appeals court in Michigan has worked out that gym customers won’t be returning to their indoor sweat sessions just yet.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer scored a victory late Wednesday night when the panel stayed a lower court ruling that would have lifted her coronavirus shutdowns of gyms in the southern part of the state.

“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 Tiffany Brown, the Democratic governor’s press secretary. “The governor will continue to take the actions necessary to save lives.”

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Two of the three judges were appointed to the court by former President George W. Bush, and the third was appointed by President Trump.

“Enjoining the actions of elected state officials, especially in a situation where an infectious disease can and has spread rapidly, causes irreparable harm,” the court’s ruling reads.

Gyms would have been allowed to reopen at 12:01 a.m. Thursday under the previous ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Paul Maloney, who sided with a coalition of gym owners, Fox 2 Detroit reported.

The business owners had argued that they set up safety protocols for sanitization and social distancing in preparation for reopening and that they suffered serious financial harm due to the shutdown.

According to the appeals court ruling, the lower court had granted its preliminary injunction because Whitmer “did not adequately explain during the hearing below her somewhat unique treatment of indoor fitness facilities, relying instead on conclusory statements that gyms are ‘dangerous.’”

The appeals court said she didn’t have to.

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“Crises like COVID-19 can call for quick, decisive measures to save lives,” the panel wrote. “Yet those measures can have extreme costs — costs that often are not borne evenly. The decision to impose those costs rests with the political branches of government, in this case, Gov. Whitmer.”

Michigan’s latest coronavirus numbers, published Wednesday, show almost 62,000 confirmed cases and more than 5,800 deaths.

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