Federal Judge Denies Restaurant Assoc. Bid for Temporary Restraining Order on Dine-In Ban

There will be no immediate reprieve from the three-week shutdown of dine-in service at Michigan’s bars and restaurants thanks to U.S. District Judge and former Berrien County Prosecutor Paul Maloney, however he didn’t completely close the door on getting the shutdown overturned.

Maloney rejected the Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association’s motion for a temporary restraining order this morning, but did set a hearing for the case on November 30th.

Maloney said in his ruling this morning against the temporary restraining order, “Plaintiffs have not demonstrated that the (order’s) burden on interstate commerce is excessive when balanced against the purported in-state benefits.”

In response to Maloney’s ruling, MRLA President & CEO Justin Winslow issued this response: “We were disappointed not to have received a temporary restraining order of the DHHS Order this morning, as it means several more restaurant workers will be losing their jobs in the coming days as restaurants remain closed. We look forward to the opportunity to make our case in court on November 30th and remain hopeful for a positive outcome that more effectively balances risk and human toll across Michigan.”

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MDHHS Director Robert Gordon also issued a statement following this morning’s court ruling regarding the lawsuit from the MRLA. Here’s what he had to say:

“We appreciate today’s ruling. Orders similar to this one have successfully stopped COVID surges in many other countries. That’s why public health experts support the approach, and we believe these targeted and temporary steps are needed to avoid overwhelmed hospitals and death counts like we saw in the spring. If all of us mask up and avoid indoor gatherings, we will not only save thousands of lives and protect our frontline health workers, but we’ll also be able to enjoy indoor restaurant dining without fear.”

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services issued the dine-in ban for three weeks in a state order rolled out last Sunday, designed to combat the coronavirus. That dine-in restriction began on Wednesday, and is slated to run through December 8th at this point.

Restaurants can still offer, and the vast majority are offering, outdoor dining in some cases, as well as takeout, curbside pick-up, and delivery options during the three-week shut down.

Stay tuned.