Santa Clara County District Attorney and County Counsel Seek Court Order to Bring Church into Compliance with Public Health Orders


October 30, 2020

The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and County Counsel jointly filed an action in Superior Court this week requesting a court order directing Calvary Church to stop ongoing and serious violations of the state and local public health orders.

The San Jose-based church has been hosting weekly indoor church services with 600 people without masks or social distancing. Under the County health order, indoor gatherings for religious or other purposes are capped at 100 people, masks must be worn, and social distancing requirements must be followed.

County officials spent months trying to work with church officials to get them to come into compliance voluntarily and issued fines when they refused. After church officials made clear they had no intention of ending their dangerous conduct, the County Counsel and District Attorney filed the request for a court order. The Superior Court has scheduled a hearing in the case for Monday, November 2, 2020.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen said: “The obligation to preserve and protect life is at the heart of all major faiths. We are grateful that virtually all religious congregations in the county have adapted their services to not risk the safety of their congregants or the community. All of us are making difficult sacrifices that are saving lives.”

The court action follows many well-publicized incidents where church services and other large gatherings without social distancing and masks caused super-spreader events. County officials have been taking action to prevent these large outbreaks as communities around the country see massive surges in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.

“Santa Clara County is one of the safest regions in the country because of our Public Health Officer’s thoughtful, science-based approach, and because our residents have carefully complied with public health requirements,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams. “To keep our residents safe, and to allow schools, churches, and businesses to reopen and stay open, we need everyone to do their part. We cannot allow any organization in our community to willfully and repeatedly violate these orders, while everyone else, including other churches and religious organizations in the county, are complying.”

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