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Chicago begins fining churches for holding services deemed in violation of stay-at-home order
By: Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner| May 20, 2020:
The city of Chicago has started fining churches that hold religious services deemed noncompliant with stay-at-home orders in Illinois.
Chicago Police Department sources confirmed to Fox News that three churches will be fined for church services held on Sunday. Religious services are currently considered nonessential under the current order in Illinois, which means services are limited to fewer than 10 people.
Philadelphia Romanian Church of God limited its church attendance to 75 people on Sunday, which is 10% of its total capacity, but the city still fined it $500.
The church reportedly demanded that those 75 congregants meet 13 requirements to attend, including having no symptoms and being younger than 65 years old.
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Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church and Metro Praise International were also fined for holding Sunday services.
“I know how hard it is to break from traditional celebrations of togetherness. But I believe passionately that adapting our expressions of faith in these times is one of the most faithful acts of all,” Democratic Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker tweeted around the time of Holy Week in April, adding that “the virus doesn’t take a day off, and it’s important for all of you to have the facts, so I’ll continue to deliver them.”
Similar stay-at-home orders have targeted churches around the country, most notably in Kentucky, where Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear warned Easter churchgoers that local police would be recording license plates of people who attend church and force them into a 14-day quarantine.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has faced criticism for not obeying lockdown orders herself, issued a statement Sunday warning churchgoers.
“The local districts are reviewing reports of large gatherings that took place today at various establishments not abiding by the stay-at-home order,” the statement said. “Following that review, the Department will issue and mail citations where necessary.”
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