Empty Restaurants Don’t Pay The Bills
Michigan’s restaurant owners are nearing the end of their rope. The current COVID-19 virus restrictions imposed by the Governor are killing them off across the state. They are now closing at a rate of nearly 9 every single day. So far the state legislature has been powerless to do much about it. And lawsuits have similarly had little impact.
More than 4 dozen restaurants and bars in the Detroit area are going after Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the new director of the state Health and Human Services Department for literally taking their businesses away from them.
The Macomb County restaurants and bars claim the state government is literally taking their businesses away from them by closing them or restricting how they can do business. It’s an argument similar to what Michigan bowling alleys recently advanced in their fight against the state. They are invoking the “takings clause” based on the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment. It is generally interpreted to say that if the government talks something of yours, it must repay with fair compensation. So in the case of restaurants and bars, if the government says you can’t open or can open with minimally acceptable business levels, it should repay you for what the government forced you to lose.
One Macomb County restaurant owner is reported by Center Square as saying, “We’re hemorrhaging money. We don’t have very much longevity this way. This is going on year number two.”
And then after the Governor more or less secretly extended her unpopular business closings through the end of March, many restaurant owners are wondering if they can stay alive that long. And wondering whether the restrictions will be extended yet again.
Attorneys representing the restaurants in the lawsuit say, “It is a fundamental rule of democracy as recognized in the Michigan Constitution, that the government cannot destroy the value of these businesses and properties through government fiat without proper just compensation.” The state is so far not responding to requests to comment since the litigation is pending. No initial hearing date has been set in Macomb County Circuit Court.
LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions
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