SACRAMENTO (CBS / AP) — More than 1,200 California pastors say they will resume in-person services on May 31 in defiance of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
Newsom has gradually allowed some businesses to reopen as the state’s number of virus-related hospitalizations has flattened. But churches are still banned, along with hair salons and sporting events. Newsom said Monday churches could reopen in weeks, not months.
But many churches are tired of waiting. Wednesday, a lawyer representing a church in Lodi that has sued Newsom said more than 1,200 pastors have signed a “declaration of essentiality” that announces their plan to reopen on May 31 while observing physical distancing and other precautions.
Attorney Robert Tyler said some pastors represent multiple churches. He expects as many as 3,000 churches across California could have in-person services on May 31.
“This letter was not sent for the purposes of asking for permission,” he said.