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A federal appeals court has halted a lower judge’s order and kept closed gyms and fitness centers that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed months ago to curb the coronavirus.
"We sympathize deeply with the business owners and their patrons affected by the Governor’s Order," court documents read. "Crises like COVID-19 can call for quick, decisive measures to save lives. Yet those measures can have extreme costs—costs that often are not borne evenly. The decision to impose those costs rests with the political branches of government, in this case, Governor Whitmer. Her motion for an emergency stay is thus GRANTED."
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 3-0 late Wednesday to grant an emergency stay sought by the governor. U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney said last week that gyms could reopen at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.
Whitmer had planned to reopen gyms, movie theaters and bowling alleys by July 4 if coronavirus case trends remain favorable. In less-populous northern Michigan, gyms and fitness centers got the green light on June 10.
“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,” Whitmer said.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases tied to a bar in East Lansing is up to 34, according to the Ingham County Health Department. That's up from 14 confirmed the day before.
The department is asking anyone who was at Harper's Restaurant & Brew Pub between June 12-20 to watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
Those symptoms could develop up to 14 days after exposure, and anyone with symptoms should get tested immediately. People without symptoms may also request testing.
Asymptomatic infections do occur and can be contagious. Symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, shortness of breath and fever.
“Given the number of cases in this outbreak, we consider this a higher risk exposure than a typical visit to a restaurant or bar,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “There are likely more people infected with COVID-19 not yet identified. We need help from people who went to Harper’s during the exposure dates so that we can contain the outbreak. We need everyone exposed to stay home.”
In an interview with 7 Action News, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said the state is concerned about recent outbreaks of COVID-19 in Michigan.
She said the goal was to get the state into phase 5 of the MI Safe Start Plan by July 4. However, she said this decision is going to be driven by data.
There have been outbreaks in Ingham County, with at least 14 cases linked to a popular bar in East Lansing.
Additionally, there have been outbreaks in agricultural facilities across the state, the governor said.
Updated information has led the data aggregation website Covid Act Now to conclude Michigan is no longer on track to contain COVID-19.
Last week the website had only Michigan and New York rated as on track.
Now, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Connecticut are all rated as on track, while Michigan is rated as having Controlled Disease Growth.
Michigan reported 323 additional cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, the first time daily cases have surpassed 300 since June 3.
Additionally, four deaths were announced.
The state now has a total of 5,868 deaths and 61,953 cases.
Nearly 50,000 people have recovered from the virus, according to the state. Those numbers are updated every Saturday.
Additional Coronavirus information and resources:
Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.
View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.
Find out how you can help metro Detroit restaurants struggling during the pandemic.
See all of our Helping Each Other stories.
See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.