COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
A Boone County judge on Friday denied a request to put an immediate hold on local regulations meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Paul Prevo and his business, Tiger Tots, sued county health department director Stephanie Browning on Monday, asking to end the county's COVID-19 reopening order, which is in effect indefinitely.
Watch a replay of the hearing in the media player below.
Judge Brouck Jacobs deferred to Browning's expertise and said Prevo's lawyers did not show at the initial hearing that they are likely to succeed in the case -- a standard needed to grant a temporary restraining order.
"My thought is as a judge I don't have the power ... to decide what the best way to combat this virus is," Jacobs said. "Under the law, that is left to director (Stephanie) Browning here at the local level."
Prevo's lawyers have argued Browning does not have the authority under state or local law to implement regulations that are more strict than those the state health director has created. They also argued the local regulations violate the U.S. Constitution.
The local rules do not close daycares, but require all of them to keep children in groups of 10 that do not change and do not interact with other groups.
In is testimony Friday, Prevo said 74 of 184 licensed child care facilities in Boone County had stopped operating.
Prevo said he's willing to follow CDC guidelines as set out in state rules but that the harsher local restrictions could eventually force him out of business.
The local rules differ from the state by keeping some types of businesses closed -- including movie theaters and large venues -- and by placing occupancy limits on businesses beyond the retail sector.
Other hearings have not been scheduled.
Check back for updates to this developing story.