Coronavirus response | Champaign County judge orders St. Joseph gym that reopened to be shut down – Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

Posted: May 15, 2020 at 9:42 am


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URBANA A Champaign County judge has ordered that a gym in St. Joseph that reopened Thursday in violation of the governors stay-at-home order be shut down.

Champaign County Judge Tom Difanis issued a temporary restraining order Thursday against D&K Fitness, doing business as The Zone at 109 N. Main St.

States Attorney Julia Rietz, who sought the order on behalf of the Champaign County Public Health Department, said when a Champaign County sheriffs deputy served the order at the business at 3:45 p.m., there were about a dozen people working out there who were not staying 6 feet apart.

Difanis set a hearing for May 21.

Gyms and fitness centers are among the non-essential businesses that the governor has ordered closed to quell the spread of the coronavirus.

The countys order says by operating, The Zone is significantly endangering the public health and welfare.

Plaintiff will suffer irreparable injury unless this court issues an injunction because an outbreak would overwhelm the department of health and local hospitals ability to treat patients of COVID-19, and would be detrimental to the public health of Champaign County, it said.

The order said the harm to the gym is solely financial.

Therefore the balance of harm weighs in favor of granting an injunction to protect the residents of Champaign County, the order said.

Along with the restraining order, a sheriffs deputy served the manager with an order of closure from the health department, which spells out the fitness centers rights.

Signed by Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde, the order is effective through 5 p.m. May 29.

The temporary restraining order and the order of closure came after the health district asked the gym Wednesday to voluntarily comply with closure by hand-delivering to staff a cease-and-desist order.

Rietz said in the petition for the order that the gym owners attorney had sent a letter dated May 6 to county authorities, received Monday, explicitly providing notice that the respondent intended to open, effectively giving local authorities time to get a court order.

In a letter to Pryde dated Wednesday, one of the gym owners Greenville-based attorneys, Erik Hyam, wrote that a cease-and-desist letter does not remotely arise to the requirements of statute and that the gym did not intend to close absent a court order.

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Coronavirus response | Champaign County judge orders St. Joseph gym that reopened to be shut down - Champaign/Urbana News-Gazette

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May 15th, 2020 at 9:42 am

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