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Judge says Michigan gyms can reopen

DETROIT (AP) — A federal judge threw down the yoga mat Friday and said gyms and fitness centers can reopen next week after finding that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration had failed to show any rational link between the coronavirus threat and the shutdown.

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Kalamazoo noted that gyms are closed in much of Michigan while restaurants, bars, barbershops and hair salons are back in business.

The Whitmer administration “cannot rely on the categorization of gyms as ‘dangerous,’ without a single supporting fact, to uphold their continued closure,” Maloney said. “This is particularly true when almost all other indoor businesses have been opened, and indoor gatherings of up to 50 people are permitted — so long as they are not inside a gym.”

Michigan has made substantial progress in controlling the pandemic, he said, “in great part” because of the governor’s policies. But Maloney said the gym restrictions don’t seem justified at this point.

The state has “presented nothing beyond ‘trust us, they’re still dangerous,'” the judge said.

Gyms can reopen at 12:01 a.m. on June 25, Maloney said.

The governor plans to appeal the decision, said spokeswoman Tiffany Brown.

“The idea that gyms … might be one of the later businesses to come back online in the midst of this global pandemic is hardly surprising and highly sensible,” Brown said.

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