Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered fitness centers across the state to close in March. The COVID-19 virus presented a threat and the centers could be a part of its transmission. None of the centers put up a fuss. But as time wore on and the impact of the virus became apparent, that picture changed. Especially after Governor Whitmer recently allowed fitness centers in the UP and Northern Michigan to reopen, but ordered southern Michigan fitness centers to remain closed. But now a federal judge has ruled fitness centers and gyms across the state may reopen tomorrow. The state’s logic to maintaining the closing order, says Judge Paul Maloney, makes no sense. Most all fitness centers in southern Michigan are ready to buck the Governor's order, now a US District Court Judge has thrown a federal court ruling into the mix to protect them.

The Whitmer administration isn’t finished with this battle.  State attorneys are going to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals asking for an immediate ruling to prevent YMCA’s, and all other fitness centers and gyms in Michigan from reopening. But barbells are already propping open the doors at  YMCA’s in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo and a long list of fitness centers ready to reopen tomorrow, or shortly after.

State attorneys are arguing what most states are leaning on in their efforts to maintain virus control orders. The looming and threatened second wave of virus cases. The problem many are now running into is the numbers don’t seem to back up the claims of danger.  For instance, across the state of Michigan, the state Health and Human Services Department says 5,864 residents have died since March with the virus playing some role. But the state can’t blame the deaths entirely on the virus. It hasn’t. And it won’t. And that number includes even presumed attributable deaths. That works out to .059%, or 59 thousandths of one percent of Michigan’s total population.

Judge Maloney and others hearing similar cases around the nation are asking the hard questions about why people are being forced off their jobs and away from their livelihoods, and have contact with other people restricted, for numbers so small. The state argues the numbers are small entirely because of the massive shutdown and the stay at home orders and all the medical safety restrictions imposed by the Governor. Attorneys for the fitness centers that sought the federal ruling to begin with say the injuries are being caused by the control efforts of the state, not the virus. Judge Maloney agrees. He is the same federal judge who last week essentially told the Michigan State Supreme Court to get to work on pending lawsuits against the Governor and rule on key aspects of the cases. Judge Maloney says when that is complete, he is ready to issue a federal ruling on constitutionality issues surrounding the massive closing orders.

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