Gym reopens against cease and desist order

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ST. JOSEPH, Ill. (WCIA) — The governor’s five phase plan for reopening Illinois is receiving push back from politicians and businesses across the state, including The Zone gym in St. Joseph.

The Zone is getting help from attorney Thomas DeVore. He sent a letter to CUPHD several days ago stating that the gym was planning to reopen if it did not take formal, legal action against it. DeVore says instead of a response, he and his client were met with a cease and desist order.

Just as it planned, The Zone did open their doors to gym members Wednesday morning.

The first gym member that walked through the doors says he is in full support of his gym reopening.

“There are very few people in here, and we’re not at risk. We know what we need to do to be healthy. So does the gym,” says gym member Mike Dilley. “I think it’s part of our constitutional right to be able to exercise our freedom, to go to a business, to workout, and continue life as it has been.”

Dilley says The Zone is meeting safety standards and providing masks to the people that want one.

Shortly after the first few members walked in, the sheriff and health department followed, but they came back out minutes later.

DeVore says he did not appreciate officials intimidating his client or their customers.

“That’s one of the most egregious actions I’ve had by any of the hundred plus clients I have trying to open their businesses fairly and respectfully,” says DeVore.

He is helping businesses reopen across 40 counties. DeVore says if the health department believes The Zone is a health risk, it must close them in a legal manner instead.

“I respect that. Please have your state’s attorney file what’s called an action in quarantine that the law provides. And we will be in court and the honorable court will make a decision,” says DeVore.

Until then, he says The Zone will remain open.

Champaign county State’s Attorney Julia Rietz responded late Wednesday afternoon saying: “The cease and desist notice was the first step in the process. Given the response from the business and its legal counsel, we are working with CUPHD and appropriate state agencies on next steps.”

Several other Zone locations have also opened for business. That includes a gym in Shelbyville.

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