GAYLORD, Mich. (AP) — A judge in northern Michigan has ruled in favor of a restaurant in a challenge to a law that was used to stop indoor dining during the pandemic in 2020.

A portion of the law that gives sweeping authority to the state health department is unconstitutional, Otsego County Judge Colin Hunter said on Jan. 13.

READ MORE: 3 Charged After Woman's Body Found In Trunk Of Burning Car

Hunter’s decision is limited to Otsego County in the northern Lower Peninsula. But if appealed to a higher court by the attorney general’s office, the case could set a precedent across Michigan.

A Gaylord restaurant, the Iron Pig Smokehouse, was fined $5,000 in 2020 for allowing indoor dining, despite a state prohibition. The health department said it was trying to reduce the spread of COVID-19 around Michigan.

READ MORE: Are You The Winner? Ticket Worth $25K A Year For Life Sold On Michigan Lottery Website

But Hunter said the law cited by the state to restrict dining was too broad.

“The director possesses free rein to exercise a substantial part of our state and local legislative authority — including police powers — for an indefinite period of time, limited only by the director’s determinations that an epidemic exists and that his actions are necessary,” the judge said.

The attorney general’s office said it was reviewing the decision.

MORE NEWS: Nessel Sends Investigators To Gaylord To Check Out Reports Of Price Gouging After Tornado

© 2022 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.