Church services may resume with no restrictions

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Federal judge blocks Gov. Cooper’s order hours after sheriff says he won’t enforce

  • Sheriff Street
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Indoor church services may resume in North Carolina with any amount of people in attendance after federal judge James C. Dever III issued a 14-day restraining order this past week blocking the enforcement of Gov. Roy Cooper’s order limiting services to no more than 10 people.

Mitchell County Sheriff Donald Street and Yancey County Sheriff Gary Banks both issued statements announcing they would not enforce Cooper’s order shortly before Dever issued his injunction.

Street said a lot of things have changed in our county, state and nation since the pandemic began, and added he understands the COVID-19 virus is real and can pose a significant threat to some people. 

“There are a lot of different opinions on this shutdown, and I do feel it is destroying our economy, but the spread of the sickness concerns me, too,” Street said. “I want to inform citizens that the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office will not do anything to infringe on our citizens’ rights to serve their God as they wish. We will not enforce the Governor’s order restricting your right to worship as you see fit. I feel our churches know what is best for their congregations.”

Cooper responded to Dever’s order, saying he disagrees with the decision but will not appeal, and urged churches to follow public health guidance to keep houses of worship from becoming “hotspots” for the coronavirus.