Court Grants Temporary Restraining Order Requiring Local Church to Comply with Public Health Orders


November 2, 2020

The Court’s Order prevents Calvary Chapel San Jose from hosting large indoor gatherings that violate State and County Health Officer Orders and requires that parishioners comply with basic safety measures like wearing face coverings during services

Santa Clara County, CA – The Santa Clara County Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order today prohibiting Calvary Chapel San Jose from hosting large indoor gatherings in a manner that would violate County and State Health Officer Orders and pose a threat of widespread virus transmission in the community.  The Court agreed with the County that Calvary’s manner of hosting indoor gatherings poses a threat of a large outbreak, and it explained that Calvary must comply with the same set of rules that apply to the rest of the community. 

“We are satisfied by the Court’s recognition that these violations of County and State Health Officer orders pose a threat to the broader community and issued an injunction to require the implementation of public health safeguards,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James R. Williams.  “The County fully supports the right to worship, and the health orders create a pathway for religious institutions to do so in a safer manner that helps protect the community’s wellbeing during a pandemic.”

Under the County Health Officer Order, indoor gatherings for religious or any other purposes are limited to 100 people, face coverings must be worn, and social distancing requirements must be followed.  The San José-based church has been hosting weekly indoor church services with approximately 600 people who do not wear face coverings or socially distance from one another. 

County officials spent months trying to work with church representatives to get them to come into compliance voluntarily and issued fines when they refused.  After the church made clear it had no intention of ending its dangerous conduct, the County Counsel and District Attorney jointly filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court last week and asked that the Court take immediate action to stop Calvary’s continuing violations. 

The Court has scheduled a hearing to determine whether to maintain the restrictions in the temporary restraining order for December 1st. 

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