A Federal judge is now considering whether to stop St. Louis and St. Louis County from enforcing businesses to remain closed until May 18th.
Anytime Fitness on Manchester remains closed as its attorney argued that it shouldn’t be shuttered by what he called an invalid local order. Bevis Schock today argued to Federal Judge Stephen Clark that the city and county’s announcement it will begin allowing the reopening of businesses in two weeks doesn’t make this issue go away. He said every day of a shutdown infringes on the constitutional rights of businesses.
Schock made it clear his arguments are “not about exchanging deaths for a revival of the economy.” He said that it’s about the fact Missouri opened up the state. Schock said “(Even though MO Health Director) Dr. Randall Williams said local authorities can do what they want – that’s not a delegation and he hasn’t designated anyone to enforce stay at home orders in St. Louis or St. Louis County.”
St. Louis County’s lawyer, Neal Perryman told the judge “I understand civil liberties and the tension between these two issues. Everyone is an expert. When do we close? Should we close? But there’s always a common thing. We’re going to back off and let the public health officials do their thing – period.”
Judge Clark asked a lot of questions from all parties and said he wants more information all of them by tonight. He challenged plaintiffs’ attorney Schock several times, asking at one point, “How much have your clients rights to assemble been infringed? The City points out your clients can confer over the internet. One of your clients can put antiques in the front yard and confer with nine other people as long as they’re all six feet apart. Is it true they’ve been prohibited? Or, rather, have they been impeded from their preferred way?”
Schock said those scenarios are not practical and that it remains a case about whether or not St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson along with her health director and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, with his health director, have the authority to extend orders beyond Missouri’s now expired order.
We may find out what the judge decides, by tomorrow.