State News

Judge rejects Michigan restaurants' try to block indoor dining ban now

November 20, 2020, 2:19 PM

A federal judge denies a restaurant trade group's request for an immediate halt to the Whitmer administration's new ban on inside dining and drinking, The Detroit News says.

Judge Paul Maloney, who was appointed by Republican President George W. Bush, ruled Friday [in Grand Rapids] that the business group is unlikely to succeed in their claims and denied its request for a temporary restraining order.

He set a hearing for Nov. 30 to hear arguments from the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association and the attorney general's office, on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services.


The Block, a Woodward Avenue restaurant in Midtown, scales back to takeout-only because of the order that kicked oin Wednesday. (Photo: David E. Rudolph)

Justin Winslow, head of the Lansing industry group, says: "More restaurant workers will be losing their jobs in the coming days as restaurants remain closed." A brief statement adds that the association is "hopeful for a positive outcome that more effectively balances risk and human toll across Michigan." 

Winslow tells The News that many members expect to be shut at least six to eight weeks as the epidemic order is likely extened past Dec. 9.

Original article, Tuesday:

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday in an attempt to overturn the state's ban on indoor dining in restaurants that takes effect Wednesday and runs at least through Dec. 9.

"We made several good-faith efforts in advance of the public release of the order issued November 15 to reach a compromise with the (state health department) that would have supported the goal of minimizing risk while still allowing for the continued operation of dining rooms," the association said in a press release.

The case filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids seeks an emergency preliminary injunction to allow indoor dining while following safety protocols.

It claims Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration violated the businesses' right to equal protection under the law. New rules allegedly target bars and restaurants unfairly because they spare other nonessential businesses operating indoors. "Inexplicably" restaurants and bars have not been given option to remain open even though they have demonstrated they can operate safely, the suit says.

It also says the state Department of Health and Human Services' epidemic order violates the state Constitution's separation of powers and nondelegation clauses. The Republican-majority legislature complained after the latest order that it did not have a say.

The editor-in-chief of Michigan Advance, a Lansing-based news site, tweets a pointed reaction:

Ali Kasben, managing editor of Gongwer, a subscription news service in the capital, tweets that until now the association "has been level-headed in responding to Covid restrictions from the administration."

A survey by the association suggests that more than 40 percent of the state's restaurants will close, at least temporarily, if dining rooms must shut for three weeks. Additionally, about 250,000 employees are likely to be laid off from restaurants over the holiday season, the Lansing-based trade group claims. 

► Read the suit



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Photo Of The Day 

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Throw back to this beautiful shot of winter filled Downtown Detroit on Woodward Ave with the QLine. Hopefully soon we can enjoy mass transit in the city once again.

By: Michael Lucido