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Governor Whitmer Statement on Emagine Theater Case


July 16, 2020  


Governor Whitmer Statement on Emagine Theater Case  

Court upholds the governor’s order limiting large indoor gatherings  


LANSING, Mich. -- Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the following statement after Judge Paul Maloney of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan issued a decisive ruling that upheld the governor’s order closing indoor movie theaters as part of a broader effort to combat COVID-19 by limiting large, inside gatherings. The case was brought by a company that operates a motion picture theater in Royal Oak.   


“Today, the court concluded what we already know: that we must continue taking aggressive action against COVID-19, including limiting large gatherings, to protect Michigan families and save lives,” said Governor Whitmer. “COVID-19 is still a very real threat in Michigan, and the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis are counting on us all to do our part. That means wearing a mask while in public, practicing safe physical distancing, and staying away from large social gatherings. I will continue doing everything in my power to protect our families and frontline workers from this virus.”  


As the court concluded, “It takes only a moment of rational speculation to discover conceivable support for the continued closure of indoor movie theaters," given the heightened risks of COVID-19 infection that come with “large, sustained, indoor gatherings.” The court also made clear that the governor’s order protects the freedom of speech guaranteed under the First Amendment during this pandemic. The governor has carefully used her emergency powers to limit the threat of this virus and save lives, and the courts have consistently recognized the validity of those actions.