CLINTON — A Savanna, Illinois business owner, following through on his recent promise to explore legal options to fight the state’s stay-at-home order, has filed a lawsuit against Illinois’ governor.
Kevin Promenschenkel, the owner of Poopy’s, which is known as Illinois’ biggest motorcycle destination, said last week that he was going to explore those options after receiving a cease-and-desist order from the State of Illinois.
Promenschenkel, who is trying to keep his business afloat, at that time said he was upset because he wanted to serve food to his customers, who are mostly motorcycle riders. When the weather was warm two weekends ago, there was a large crowd of bikers in the parking lot, and Promenschenkel said he tried his best to ensure everyone was social distancing. People complained to local and county officials, which prompted the state to send the cease-and-desist order.
“We’re fighting this,” Promenschenkel said. “We think we did everything in the best way that we could do. Unless they want me closed down permanently and unless the government wants us to go broke, I mean they will make that happen. But, we’re fighting that. And, we’re going to try to survive this.”
Promenschenkel’s legal representation filed a lawsuit Monday against Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, arguing his stay-at-home order overstepped his authority and violates the state’s constitution.
Promenschenkel said he does not want anyone to get sick and that he has said several times that if a person is elderly or has underlying conditions then they should not be out. But he reiterated that he believes if people are healthy and want to go out and want to support not only his business but other businesses around town, people should have the right to do so.
Savanna Mayor Chris Lain said last week he sees both sides of the argument. He said that as a city official, his primary goal is to ensure the people in Savanna are safe. At the same time, as a business owner himself, he understands the delicate balance of trying to remain afloat. But he did say he wishes the governor would allow local municipalities to do what is best for their area versus a “one-size-fits-all” format for a state that is as large and diverse as Illinois.
During a press conference Tuesday, Pritzker addressed this thought process directly, saying public safety is his first concern.
“My job is to keep the people of Illinois safe,” Pritzker said in his web-based press conference. “And putting back the damage this virus has done to our economy and making sure our economy has the ability to grow. So, I’m measuring those things very carefully and using experts to do it.”
Pritzker said the vast majority of counties, individuals and business owners are not talking to epidemiologists and scientists. He added that they are not relying on science at all to make decisions to open up their businesses despite the stay-at-home order. The governor said they are putting people in danger when they decide to break the law and go it alone.
“We are one Illinois,” Pritzker said. “We are one state, and we have four regions for the Restore Illinois plan. And soon enough regions across the state will have the ability to move into Phase 3.”
Pritzker continued to restate that he is basing his decisions for the entire state on the data and metrics. Also, he added the state is only a little more than two weeks away from seeing parts of Illinois move up to Phase 3.
Pritzker said he wanted to remind people that COVID-19 is still at large.
“This virus is still out there and is still killing people,” Pritzker said. “Everyone wanting to go back and open up their businesses and just put people at risk willy-nilly needs to look at the data”
In response to the lawsuit filed by Promenschenkel, attorneys for Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul filed paperwork seeking to bypass the state courts and pass the case on to a federal judge.