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Federal judge to rule on Michigan's indoor dining ban

Their argument is the ban on indoor dining is too aggressive and that restaurants can take other measures to reduce the spread of Coronavirus.

A federal judge has heard arguments for striking down Michigan's temporary ban on indoor dining, and he could make a final ruling as early as Tuesday.

The Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association, or MRLA, filed the suit on behalf of thousands of its members across the state.

Their argument is the ban on indoor dining is too aggressive and that restaurants can take other measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Monday, federal Judge Paul Maloney heard both sides of the argument. Attorneys for the restaurant industry argued that "constitutional liberties need to be protected... even in a time of pandemic."

That emphasized how this pandemic and subsequent restrictions have devastated the industry, and stand to do even more harm.

The attorney representing the state conceded these are difficult times. However, they said this is as much about science as is it business or law.

The science, says "indoor dining is inherently dangerous in a time of COVID."

Judge Maloney pointed out that the current three-week ban on indoor dining is set to expire a week from Tuesday, but recognized it could be extended. As such, the judge is expected to make a ruling this evening, at the earliest.

There is so much riding on this ruling. The decision could determine the survival of so many Michigan bars and restaurants. But, of course, we have so many frontline workers, also trying to survive this latest COVID surge.  

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