Currently orders are in place statewide for California residents to avoid large gatherings in an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Because the shelter in place orders include prohibitions against large gatherings, a Pastor in Merced was cited for hosting Easter Services.
According to ABC 7 News, police were called to Iglesia De Cristo in Merced County on Easter Sunday because 50-60 people of all ages were inside participating in church services. Officers say that the doors were locked and that the “pastor tried to hide the large crowd by having parishioners park in an overflow lot.”
Officers were very concerned about the gathering of the large crowd because of how easily and quickly the COVID-19 virus can spread. Merced Sheriff stated that the pastor “put his entire congregation in jeopardy. One person could have showed up not knowing they're infected and infected the entire congregation.”
The pastor told police he did not believe that churches should have to adhere to the gathering restrictions--though some believe that prohibiting church gatherings is a violation of the constitution, officers state that people can still worship, just for now, in a different way in order to protect public safety. The pastor will have to appear in court due to the citation, but “it will be up to a judge to decide what penalty he faces.”
This is certainly an unusual time for all of us, and actions that would ordinarily be no problem, are now under scrutiny. You can face fines for violating the stay at home orders and social distancing requirements, and these fines can reach up to $1,000. With the current struggles that the COVID-19 virus has brought, a fine that requires a court appearance can only make life more difficult.
If you are facing fines or other criminal charges, it is important to contact a skilled California criminal defense attorney to help you defend your charges. Criminal charges and fines can take a toll on your life, especially now when times are already financially tough. The attorneys at the Kann California Law Group have years of experience handling criminal charges of all types. Even during the current crisis you can have a free case consultation over the phone with one of our attorneys to answer your questions and help with your case. Contact us online by clicking here or call us today at 888-744-7730 to get the help you need.