Judge won't upset ban on indoor dining during virus spike

A federal judge won't upset ban on indoor dining during virus spike. (WWMT/Will Haenni)

A judge has declined to stop a three-week ban on indoor dining in Michigan, the latest coronavirus restriction imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration.

Federal Judge Paul Maloney says a restraining order isn't appropriate, especially when the state hasn't had a chance to respond to the lawsuit.

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association sued to try to stop the indoor dining ban that began Wednesday.

The group said restaurants can take further steps to minimize the coronavirus without cutting off customers.

President & CEO Justin Winslow of the association said the group is disappointed.

"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 30 and remain hopeful for a positive outcome that more effectively balances risk and human toll across Michigan," he said in a written statement.

Robert Gordon, director of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, also issued a statement after the judge's decision.

“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," he said in a written statement.