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Racine's local COVID restrictions go to court Friday

Racine's local COVID restrictions go to court Friday

Harbor Park Crossfit

Members of Harbor Park Crossfit get in a workout on Jan. 1, 2018. David Yandel, the owner of the business, filed a lawsuit against the City of Racine and Racine health official Dottie-Kay Bowersox claiming that the local Safer at Home order may lead to the end of his business. 

RACINE — A judge is set to consider on Friday whether to temporarily halt Racine’s local Safer at Home order, while a suit filed against the city by the owner of Harbor Park CrossFit works its way through the court system.

David Yandel said that business has dropped by more than 25% since the enforcement of the Racine order, according to an affidavit filed May 21.

The original judge in the case, Michael J. Piontek, on May 22 denied Yandel’s request to temporarily halt Racine’s local Safer at Home order, which would have allowed the business at 3801 Blue River Ave. to reopen immediately.

Also on May 22, the city requested a new judge be assigned to the case. The city did not provide a reason for the request.

On May 26, Racine’s new coronavirus restrictions went into effect, allowing gyms in Racine to reopen but restricting them to only 10 customers inside at any time.

Racine County Circuit Court Judge Jon E. Fredrickson was assigned to the lawsuit on May 29. Last week Thursday, Fredrickson issued a motion to reconsider the decision to keep in effect local coronavirus restrictions.

The city, along with co-defendant Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox as well as Yandel, will be allowed to submit briefs to the court on a temporary halt to the local coronavirus restrictions prior to a hearing set for 1:30 p.m. on Friday.

Yandel’s lawsuit said that the City’s Safer at Home order will “lead to the likely closure of the business” due to “significant loss of revenue and loss of customers due to the Racine order.”

The suit asks the court to find the Racine Safer at Home order “unlawful, invalid and unenforceable.”

Following a request for comment, City Attorney Scott Letteney said that it would be inappropriate for the city to comment on a lawsuit that is in active litigation. 

Harbor Park CrossFit announced last week its plans to disaffiliate with CrossFit after ex-CEO Greg Glassman made comments about George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. Those comments included, “We’re not mourning for George Floyd, I don’t think me or any of my staff are.”

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Caitlin Sievers covers education in Racine County with a primary focus on Racine Unified School District. Before moving to the Racine area she worked at small papers in Indiana, Illinois and Nebraska.

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