Los Angeles County lifted its earlier ban on indoor church services over the weekend following recent Supreme Court rulings in favor of houses of worship.
“The Los Angeles County Health Officer Order will be modified today to align with recent Supreme Court rulings for places of worship,” the county said in a press release Saturday. “Places of worship are permitted to offer faith-based services both indoors and outdoors with mandatory physical distancing and face coverings over both the nose and mouth that must be worn at all times while on site. Places of worship must also assure that attendance does not exceed the number of people who can be accommodated while maintaining a physical distance of six feet between separate households.”
“Public Health strongly recommends that places of worship continue to hold services outdoors, with physical distancing and the use of face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to congregants and to the entire community,” the release continued. “Because Los Angeles County is experiencing an unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, every effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to congregants and to the entire community is critical.”
Last week, the Supreme Court handed down two rulings that proved to be a win for houses of worship. As The Daily Wire reported:
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court, drawing from the ruling they issued last month in favor of New York churches and synagogues against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s pandemic restrictions in the case Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, issued an unsigned order that sided with a Colorado church in one case and a Catholic priest and rabbi in New Jersey in the other.
The Court sent the cases back to the lower federal courts, which had refused to block restrictions on houses of worship in Colorado and New Jersey, with instructions for them to factor in the Court’s ruling in Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo.
The Colorado church, High Plains Harvest Church, north of Denver, was fighting against Colorado Democratic Governor Jared Polis’ restrictions; Fr. Kevin Robinson and Rabbi Yisrael A. Knopfler chafed at New Jersey’s restrictions targeting places of worship.
Los Angeles County has repeatedly drawn national attention for legal pushback from some churches and clergy against its COVID-19 lockdown measures. As The Daily Wire reported earlier this month:
A California Superior Court judge issued an injunction against Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s planned COVID-19 restrictions on a Catholic priest and his parishes earlier this week, citing the recent Supreme Court decision in favor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn.
Judge Gregory Pulskamp slapped down Newsom’s mandates on Thursday in a case brought against state, local, and municipal officials by the Thomas More Society on behalf of Father Trevor Burfitt and his several churches. The complaint, which can be read here, argued that Newsom and those under his authority were discriminating against religious institutions in the name of COVID-19.