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Court Halts Ban On Mass Gatherings At Kentucky Churches

Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

A federal court halted the Kentucky governor's temporary ban on mass gathering from applying to in-person religious services.

The temporary restraining order issued Friday enjoins Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear's administration from enforcing the ban at any in-person religious service statewide, provided the places of worship practice social distancing and adhere to hygiene guidelines. 

According to the Courier Journal, U.S. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove ruled Friday that Tabernacle Baptist Church in Nicholasville, Kentucky, may hold in-person services on Sunday. Attorneys for Tabernacle church argued at the hearing that the ban on in-person services discriminated against the free exercise of religion. They said people are allowed to shop at grocery stores and gather at private businesses. 

A Beshear attorney argued shoppers leave after making a purchase while people sit next to each other for at least an hour in church services.

Federal judges David Hale of Louisville and William Bertelsman of Covington previously ruled the ban on in-person church services was constitutional. Beshear planned to allow places of worship to reopen May 20.


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