Batavia Mayor: Clay County Ruling Doesn't Change City's Position on Wearing Masks

Batavia Mayor: Clay County Ruling Doesn’t Change City’s Position on Wearing Masks

In his weekly video address to Batavia residents, Mayor Jeffrey Schielke encouraged residents to continue using masks and said a Clay County ruling on the governor’s executive powers was non-binding for the city of Batavia.

In the YouTube video posted July 10 on the city’s website, Schielke said he had heard some vocal criticism from people “on both sides of the issue” regarding social distancing and the use of masks to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Schielke said the city’s position is to encourage the use of facial coverings in cooperation with state guidelines, but the city is not requiring people to wear masks.

“As I point out to people who object to it, we as a city are not running around giving tickets to anybody because they don’t have a mask on,” he said.

Schielke said many citizens have contacted the city, citing a circuit court opinion in downstate Clay County that said state law doesn’t allow governors to extend disaster proclamations beyond 30 days or to restrict the activities of residents and businesses by executive order.

In response to those questions, Schielke said he contacted the city’s legal representatives at Drendle & Jansons Law Group for an opinion and read a few sentences from a memo written by Kevin Drendle.

Clay County locator map. (CREDIT: Wikipedia)

“(The) Clay County decision is binding on the courts in Clay County, but it isn’t binding on courts in other counties,” Schielke read.

“If it gets appealed to the 5th Appellate Court District, where Clay County is located, and the 5th District makes a ruling, that ruling will become a binding precedent on all county courts that are within the 5th District.

“Since Kane County is in the 2nd District, a 5th District opinion would not be binding in Kane County unless the 5th District opinion is appealed to the Supreme Court, and the Illinois Supreme Court rules against the emergency order actions.

“So, as of today, all we have is a Clay County court opinion. It has no binding effect on Kane County, because Clay County Circuit Court has no jurisdiction over people in other counties.”

Schielke said some Batavia retailers have put out signs saying to put a mask on before entering the business. He said that’s the business owner’s decision and not the city that’s saying masks are required.

As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, July 14, the Kane County Health Department dashboard shows 154 COVID-19 confirmed cases among Batavia residents since the pandemic began.

“I will tell you, at the end of the day, Batavia’s been very fortunate in this whole corona thing in that we’ve had a very low number of cases in our town,” Schielke said. “So we’re going to continue to ask for the mask cooperation … We don’t want to do anything that will compromise the good situation that we’re in.”

SOURCE: city of Batavia YouTube video