ILLINOIS — One of the attorneys challenging Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts in court is also challenging the governor’s assertion that business prohibitions work to slow the spread of the virus.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration last week said the relaxation of mitigation efforts Friday in the Metro East St. Louis region was because of “proven and targeted mitigation efforts.”
“We are excited to see that after weeks of mitigation measures and sacrifice, Region 4 has reduced its positivity rate and can return to Phase 4,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. “It takes communities working together to reduce the spread of the virus and lower the positivity rate. I want to thank Region 4 for its hard work to decrease the risk for all of Illinois.”
Attorney Thomas DeVore, who’s challenged the governor’s unilateral orders in court, told WMAY that’s not true.
“Down here in Region 4, I promise you, I was here, I go to all these counties, I worked in these counties, the overwhelming majority of the small business owners did not close down,” DeVore said. “The governor doesn’t want you to know that. He won’t tell you that. But that’s the truth because I am here. And I can tell you in Region 1, it’s the same thing.”
Region 1 still has mitigations in place prohibiting indoor service at bars and restaurants.
DeVore expects to be in a Springfield court Wednesday for a hearing about cases he brought challenging whether there are county-level health emergencies. He cautioned people who say a case has been decided when a judge denies a temporary restraining order, as has happened with cases across Illinois. He said a decision one way or another on a TRO isn’t based on the merits of the case.
“So when a court doesn’t grant one, or when a court grants one, lawyers know that at the end of the day that’s not a big deal and it’s not a test of whether that case has any merit or not,” he said.
The consolidated cases to be heard Wednesday had been filed months ago and have been consolidated. For other mitigations in places like the northwestern part of the state, DeVore said he’s not in court yet.
“I’m not filing lawsuits,” DeVore said. “It’s like if the health department wants to shut you down, they got to get a court order and you know how many they’ve went to try to get? Zero. They keep trying to scare people but it’s not working anymore.”
The Center Square – Greg Bishop