The Los Angeles County Health Department dropped the county’s COVID-19 restrictions against religious gatherings on Monday, December 21.
And, not only did they drop restrictions on religious gatherings, but the health department also removed the attendance limits on worship services.
According to The Liberty Counsel, which is a nonprofit religious rights law firm, the health department issued a Revised Temporary Order.
Houses of worship can now conduct services as per usual without worrying about capacity limits. However, social distancing must be enforced between members of separate households.
The new order also states that activities with individuals of other households must stop by 10 p.m., except for “activities associated with the operation, maintenance, or usage of an Essential Business, Healthcare Operation, Essential Infrasruction, Essential Government Function, Places of Worship for faith-based services or as required by law.”
Needless to say, The Liberty Counsel was happy with the new order.
“We are grateful for the US Supreme Court’s rulings that are resulting in the unconstitutional worship bans falling like dominoes,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement.
“The Supreme Court has made it very clear that the courts and the states must begin applying the First Amendment to protect houses of worship. No pastor, church, or parishioner in America should have to choose between worship and prison,” he said.
Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of houses of worship in both Colorado and New Jersey.
The court ruled 6-3 to send the Colorado lawsuit back to the lower courts, where the church had originally lost. Justices Stephen Bryer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissented because Colorado had already lifted capacity limits on places of worship.
The Supreme Court also granted an injunction sought by a church and a synagogue in New Jersey.
Both the church and the synagogue asked for an injunction to allow them “to host indoor, in-person religious worship for their respective congregations.” Each place of worship argued they should be treated as “essential” non-retail business or “essential” retail businesses.
The Supreme Court also issued an injunction blocking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo from enforcing an occupancy limit on religious institutions.
However, New York revealed the Supreme Court did not need to act because the restrictions had already been dialed back. New York, which has had a very high number of COVID-19 cases, has put in place a lot of restrictions in order to prevent the spread of the virus.