18 December 2020 | Television station ABC7 reported this week that San Anselmo Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church held an indoor services last Saturday in direct violation of Marin County, California, stay-at-home orders.
ABC7 reported the congregation’s live stream shows a Saturday service with “nearly 20 churchgoers singing together maskless and not socially distanced.”
It appeared from the livestream that the service included a baptism.
The TV outlet reported that a Facebook photo uploaded from the church showed about 40 more attendees for the service. Although the majority of them wore masks and sat apart, current state guidelines say all religious services must take place outdoors.
Town council member Ford Greene said the indoor activity in the Adventist church had the potential to be a super-spreader.
“We have to be respectful and defer to religious practice,” said town council member Ford Greene to ABC7, “but not to the extent that we cut off our nose to spite our face with respect to protecting our citizens.”
Although local church leadership did not respond to questions from ABC7, the Northern California Conference (NCC) said in a statement that all its churches are required to follow COVID-19 rules. They also said they had contacted the congregation, which will now be following the rules.
“The state order went into effect on Dec 8. Some Bay Area counties proactively implemented the order; some did not. If one does not keep up on the news or is not connected directly into the county, it can cause confusion,” said NCC Communication Director Laurie Trujuillo to ABC7.
Marin County said this is the first alert they have received of a congregation violating COVID restrictions.
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