The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association today filed suit against Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon for the recent agency health order that, among other things, put a three week moratorium on in-person dining services at bars and restaurants across the state.
MRLA – along with Heirloom Hospitality Group, LLC and Suburban Inns – is seeking injunctive relief from Sunday’s DHHS health order which would see a halt to dine in services beginning Wednesday, November 18, and last for three weeks as a means of curbing the rapid spread of coronavirus across Michigan
“We have taken this action only after careful deliberation and as the last available option to prevent the outright devastation of restaurant operators and their hundreds of thousands of employees across the state,” MRLA President and CEO Justin Winslow said in a statement Tuesday. “We are hopeful for a swift and decisive victory in court so restaurant operators may return to what we know they do best – adding value to our lives and our economy by providing a great meal and exceptional hospitality in a safe, socially distanced, sanitized and regulated environment.”
The association maintains that unless restaurants and bars are able to continue operations at the reduced capacity level they are currently allowed, roughly 250,000 employees are “likely to be laid off from restaurants over the holiday season” and that more than 40 percent of restaurants will close, at least temporarily, if dining rooms are closed.
It also insists that DHHS data does not support the need for dine-in closure, as restaurants are only responsible for roughly 4.3 percent of COVID-19 outbreaks statewide.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Western District, alleges the DHHS order violates the plaintiffs’ due process rights along with the separation of powers, takings and commerce clauses in the state or U.S. Constitution.