Springfield, Illinois – According to a source, close to Springfield Leaks, the source confirmed to us that the Fox Run Restaurant continued to perform in-door food service after being ordered, earlier on Tuesday, by a Sangamon County Judge to shut down.
On Tuesday, attorneys for four Springfield restaurants appeared in court after the Sangamon County Department of Public Health were seeking a temporary restraining order. The Public Health Department requested the restraining order, which would close down the businesses, because the four restaurants continued to conduct in-door dining, which defied the new mitigation efforts that was put into place in attempt to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
The four restaurants – D&J Café, 915 W. Laurel St., were represented by Attorney John Kerley. The remaining three restaurants -Fox Run Restaurant & Lounge, 1130 Legacy Pointe Drive, Charlie Parker’s, 700 W. North St., and Sweet Basil Café, 4241 Conestoga Drive were represented by Attorney Thomas DeVore.
In court on Tuesday, Dan Wright, who is the Sangamon County State’s Attorney and is also the attorney for the Sangamon County Department of Public Health argued that it’s not a matter for the court to look into why the businesses food handling licenses were suspended, but only for the court to know that the licenses are suspended and that they’re operating without one, which is sufficient for the court to grant the temporary restraining order which would cause all four businesses to close. On the flip side, the restaurant’s attorneys argued that the courts need to look into why the businesses food handling licenses were suspended and told the judge that its in the law that she must review why the public health department suspended their food handling licenses before she can approve the temporary restraining order.
In what was a very persuasive argument between State’s Attorney Wright and the business owner’s attorney, Sangamon County Judge, Raylene Grischow, appeared to indicate early, during the arguments, how she would rule. When attorney Kerley told the judge, “if you accept their (Public Health Department) argument it would allow the public health department the authority to shut a restaurant down because they see a little kid sitting at a table with a snotty nose because he might give somebody a cold.” Judge Grischow laughingly responded, “Now I think you’re really pushing it, we all know they don’t want the indoor dining because of the COVID.” Attorney Kerley responded, “But is there a difference between saying COVID and cold in their regulation – NO?” “Well that’s not before me to decide,” said Judge Grischow. “But it is”, responded attorney Kerley. “I don’t think so,” Judge Grischow said. In a nutshell, Judge Grischow told the attorneys that it’s not for her to consider the reason why the food handling licenses were suspended to begin with.
Shortly, before Judge Grischow returned to render her 1:00 p.m. verdict, attorney DeVore asked State’s Attorney Wright, during small talk, if he would join him at Fox Run restaurant to get something to eat… maybe even a photo op?… State’s Attorney Wright chucklingly declined.
1:15 p.m. – Judge Grischow ruled that all four restaurants must shut down pursuant to the temporary restraining order. At the conclusion of the hearing, State’s Attorney Wright signaled to the judge that the Public Health Department will attempt to work with the businesses so they could re-open pursuant to the mitigation efforts that were recently established, which restricted in-door dining. In a conversation that Springfield Leaks had with both attorneys, the attorneys tell us that the businesses can’t just do carry-out. “It will bankrupt them.”
After all restaurants were informed of the temporary restraining order, which would mean that they would not be able to operate, we were informed that all, but one had closed that day.
A source tells us that there were cars in the parking lot at the Fox Run restaurant and that the “open” sign was illuminated. Pictures were also provided to us, which is shown at the top of this article. But, we weren’t the only ones who were aware of the business being open. According to Jeff Wilhite, who is the Sangamon County Public Health spokesperson, he tells us that the police also knew the business was open and that the business was paid a visit by police. Unbeknown, to us at this time, how police knew the business was open, we can only guess that a customer, who was on the Fox Run Facebook page saying to the world, “I’m here now” might have caught the attention of the tipster or the police.
According to Spokesperson Wilhite, police visited the Fox Run restaurant Tuesday night and issued two $500 citations. One citation was for violating the in-door food service restriction and the second $500 citation was for interfering with an inspection.
Wednesday morning, after allegedly violating the temporary restraining order and receiving two $500 citations, the Fox Run restaurant issued several statements via their Facebook page. The statements said, “We will be closed until further notice.” Then they released another statement that said, “We will be missing our sweet guests today. You blessed our days beyond measure. We will keep you updated.” And they released a final statement that said, “We want to thank everyone for the prayers, encouragement and support. To the haters, we forgive you. We will keep the updates coming. God bless you all.”
At this time, it isn’t clear if the attorneys for the businesses will appeal Judge Grischow’s ruling, but legal attorneys close to Springfield Leaks tells us that her ruling was expected and “that she’s probably scared and doesn’t want to be the first judge to overturn the public health department’s decision to restrict in-door dining.”
Stay tuned to Springfield Leaks for further updates to this story.