Editors note: On June 19, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney ruled that Michigan had no scientific basis for keeping gyms closed under Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s epidemic emergency lockdown. Below are excerpts from the decision in “League of Independent Fitness Facilities and Trainers, Inc, et al., v. Gretchen Whitmer and Robert Gordon.”
On June 24, a federal appeals court ordered gyms to remain closed until an appeal on the matter is heard.
“Defendants cited to the preambles of the Executive Orders and vaguely stated that indoor gyms are a ‘petri dish’ of infection, but Defendants could not point to any facts in the record to support that statement. Defendants emphasized the low bar: all that needed to be presented was a reasonably conceivable set of facts that connected the continued closure to protecting the public health. But when asked, even counsel was unable to state a rational basis to support the position that indoor gyms must still be closed.
“If Defendants can open or close any sector of the economy, at will, with nothing more than a vague reference that it is ‘dangerous,’ the potential for abuse is palpable. To be sure, the coronavirus pandemic has devastated parts of the country and the state and containing the transmission of the virus is crucial. Activities that are dangerous should be avoided, for the public health. But after more than 90 days of closure, the scientific knowledge of the virus has grown, and Michigan has made great gains in containing the pandemic. At this point, the bare assertion that gyms are dangerous is not enough to demonstrate a ‘real or substantial’ connection to public health, nor is it a set of facts establishing rational basis to justify their continued closure.”