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Governor Cooper’s restrictions on indoor religious services temporarily blocked by federal judge

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Last Updated on May 16, 2020 5:43 pm

Restrictions on indoor religious services by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s latest Executive Order was temporarily blocked by a federal judge on Saturday.

An organization called Return America sued the governor Thursday, saying his executive order violates their First Amendment freedom of religion rights to meet indoors.

The latest restrictions are part of Governer Cooper’s Phase One plan, of which we are now in, for the re-opening of North Carolina due to COVID-19 concerns. The Order says that outdoor worship services are allowed but gatherings of 10 or more people generally are still prohibited.

The order by Judge James C. Denver III is in effect for 14 days with a hearing set for May 29th.

The Governor’s Office issued a statement on Saturday afternoon saying they disagree with the decision but will not appeal.

Ford Porter, Governor Roy Cooper's spokesperson said, “We don’t want indoor meetings to become hotspots for the virus and our health experts continue to warn that large groups sitting together inside for long periods of time are much more likely to cause the spread of COVID-19. While our office disagrees with the decision, we will not appeal, but instead urge houses of worship and their leaders to voluntarily follow public health guidance to keep their members safe.”

WataugaOnline.com will update as this story unfolds.

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