6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Whitmer, Keeping Gyms Closed

You will not be able to hit your favorite gym or fitness center shortly after midnight tonight after all. A court ruling has ended that dream.

In an eleventh hour blow to gyms and fitness centers across most of Michigan, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late today has granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s motion to keep them closed.

The Court ruled in a 3-0 decision, “We sympathize deeply with the business owners and their patrons affected by the governor’s order. Crises like COVID-19 can call for quick, decisive measures to save lives. Yet those measures have extreme costs — costs that often are not borne evenly. The decision to impose those cost rests with the political branches of government, in this case, Governor Whitmer. Her motion for emergency stay is thus granted.”

That action negates the ruling just last week from former Berrien County Prosecutor Paul Maloney, who, in his current role as U.S. District Judge in Grand Rapids for the Western District of Michigan, ruled that gyms and fitness centers could, in fact, reopen tomorrow, Thursday, June 25th. Maloney’s action giving gyms the right to open followed a lawsuit that had been filed by the League of Independent Fitness Facilities. You can see the story about Maloney’s ruling at this link:

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Gov. Whitmer appealed Maloney’s ruling, and this evening the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with her, keeping gyms sidelined indefinitely again. They have been closed for several months due to the governor’s executive orders mandating they remain shuttered.

Meanwhile, gyms and fitness centers in northern lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula have been allowed to return to service since June 10th where reduced capacities and other changes were made.

Following the ruling, the governor’s office released the following statement from Press Secretary Tiffany Brown: After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, including one judge nominated by Donald Trump and two judges nominated by George W. Bush, granted her request for a stay of a lower court ruling declaring her order closing gyms in southern Michigan because of COVID-19 should be lifted Thursday, June 25th, Governor Whitmer says. ‘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. The governor will continue to take the actions necessary to save lives.’”