Friday, March 12, 2021

California COVID Restrictions On Singing At Worship Services Upheld

In Calvary Chapel of Ukiahv. Newsom, (ED CA, March 10, 2021), a California federal district court refused to issue a preliminary injunction against California's COVID-19 restriction on indoor singing and chanting during worship services. The court rejected plaintiffs' free exercise, free speech, equal protection and Establishment Clause claims. The court said in part:

[T]he State has now issued protocols allowing those who serve as performers during church services, presumably including choir members or soloists, to sing indoors subject to masking and distancing. Under these newest rules, the State argues, “worship services are treated more favorably than the entertainment industry.” ... To the extent one might question whether churches were being treated equivalently to the entertainment industry, that doubt appears to have been eliminated beyond a shadow of a doubt.