PARMA HEIGHTS, Ohio — A judge ordered the closing of Seconds City Consignment Store after the court ruled it was operating in defiance as a non-essential business to Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton’s “stay at home” order that included all non-essential businesses should suspend operations to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the court document, the consignment store, deemed a non-essential business, continued to operate despite warnings from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and citations from the City of Parma Heights.
After numerous warnings to the business and calls of concerns from the community, the board of health brought in legal support to settle on differences of opinion about whether a this business is essential or not.
Administrative Judge Brendan J. Sheehan granted a temporary restraining order that ceased operations immediately.
"Every day that Seconds City remains open, it creates an unnecessary risk of spreading COVID-19. Moreover, defendant's recalcitrance undermines the badly needed social distancing required at a critical moment in history. No amount of money damages can undo the public health harm that is occurring by failing to adhere to public health orders," the judge said in the ruling and opinion document.
A telephone hearing on the preliminary injunction is set for April 20 at 11 a.m., where the court will determine whether the store must stay closed per the governor's orders or may remain open.
Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan addressed the court ruling, and the need to bring in legal help to determine a state ruling that many local health departments haven't seen yet. On a daily basis, the board of health is flooded with hundreds of calls from businesses, and even some employees, asking how to interpret DeWine’s order.
“I think people are trying to do the right thing. I think that is a default for our community. Where there are differences in opinions and where those differences are sustained, we will seek legal support to make the right decision,” Allan said during Wednesday’s briefing.
Allan said this is an evolving process and new way of normal for businesses in the community, emphasizing there will be some ambiguity at times and the board is comfortable with that.
“I wouldn’t expect this case to be the last one. I think people will learn and when you have decision from the state board and when you have rulings at the county level, they will influence policies at the state level and create clarity that we are all seeking,” he said.
The board of health hopes the governor's newly-formed advisory board can weigh in on future disagreements when it comes whether a business is deemed essential or not.
Read the full ruling here.