A federal judge on Friday ruled against immediately lifting the indoor-dining ban imposed this week by Mayor Kenney in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
U.S. District Court Judge Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro denied an emergency motion for a temporary restraining order and injunction filed by Philadelphia Restaurant Owners Against Lockdown, LLC, which claims to represent a group of owners in the city.
The judge wrote that granting a temporary restraining order may result in more transmission of the virus and more cases of illness and death, thus “the potential harm to the public is significant and not outweighed by the irreparable harm Plaintiff might suffer.”
Quiñones also noted that the “precise question of when restrictions on particular social activities should be lifted during the pandemic is a dynamic and fact-intensive matter subject to reasonable disagreement.”
The lawsuit was filed Thursday against Kenney and alleges that his order to prohibit indoor dining violates their constitutional rights and will devastate them financially.
The 11-page complaint argues that Kenney’s restrictions, which were announced on Monday and took effect on Friday, are arbitrary and not supported by evidence that they will help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Individual restaurant owners were not identified in the lawsuit.
Brian E. Fritz, the attorney who filed the complaint, could not be immediately reached for comment Friday night.