On Wednesday Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti held a press conference saying that he has authorized water and power departments to shut off utilities for houses, businesses, and ‘large gatherings’ that violate health orders given to the state due to the spread of COVID-19.
The term ‘large gatherings’ in the past have referred to churches (houses of worship).
The announcement came after YouTubers and TikTok stars were hosting parties, defying government restrictions. The LA Mayor said,
“Starting on Friday night, if LAPD responds and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at a property, and we see these properties offending time and time again, they will provide notice and initiate the process to request that DWP shut off service within the next 48 hours.”
He put the rule in place for those, “people determined to break the rules, posing significant public dangers and a threat to all of us.” Citing that these gatherings of people were unsafe and could cost Angelenos people their lives.”
Mayor Garcetti made the same threat back in April when similar state restrictions were put in place, as to our knowledge no churches (houses of worship) were yet affected by the Mayor’s threat.
The Associated Press reported last week that Ventura County (just outside of L.A.) leaders have approved the use of ‘restraining orders and other enforcement actions’ against businesses and those that defy the state’s mandated social distancing orders.
Pastor Rob McCoy and the congregation he shepherds at Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Newbury Park were sued and issued a temporary restraining order barring them from worshiping indoors. Pastor McCoy said, “I wish it didn’t have to come to this, I really do, but we will be violating the judge’s order. We will be open this Sunday,” and did just that opening their doors to three live worship services on Sunday.
According to KABC Godspeak Calvary Chapel drew counter-protestors in which one man attempted to rip the sign out of a protestor’s hands that resulted in her getting thrown to the ground. The church’s security said the man does not attend the church. The lady was not hurt and was protesting because the church was not requiring face covering or physically distancing.
Pastor McCoy told his congregation in an interview Friday, “Come to church, and if you’re one of the first thousand, you win a prize. You will get a citation. It will be a misdemeanor, it’ll go on your record; be mindful of that.”
Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Shane Matthews was reached on Saturday and said, “We’re not going to take a proactive stance and disrupt the church service,” explaining they were not planning to be on site.
McCoy said there has been no members of Godspeak Calvary Chapel that have tested positive for COVID-19.