Appeals court prevents gyms from reopening in Michigan, but some fitness centers open anyway



A federal appeals court made a last-minute decision Wednesday night to prevent gyms and fitness centers from reopening Thursday morning in Michigan.

A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously delayed a lower court’s ruling that allowed indoor fitness centers to reopen Thursday in defiance of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s order.

The panel ruled that Whitmer’s order may remain in place until the state’s appeal is heard.

“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,” Whitmer’s spokesman Tiffany Brown said in a news release Wednesday night. “The governor will continue to take the actions necessary to save lives.”

Some gyms have opened anyway, even as the state’s coronavirus cases and hospitalizations begin to rebound. Crunch Fitness in East Lansing reopened Thursday morning, telling WILX-10, “We have tons of people here.”

CrossFit Menace in Brighton has been open and even encouraged people on its Facebook page “to get out,” falsely claiming people “have a BETTER chance of dying from a shark attack … than you do from the Covid Cold bug.”

In another Facebook post, the gym called the coronavirus a “high grade common cold.”

One Facebook user commented, "Like you guys – I am so glad that annoying pandemic is over."

Whitmer previously indicated she may allow gyms to reopen on July 4, but state officials are worried after the number of cases and hospitalizations have begun to rise this week.

Since March, the coronavirus has killed nearly 5,900 Michigan residents and another 62,000 have confirmed infections.

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