The pastor of the Adams Square Baptist Church in Worcester held an in-person service Wednesday night after warnings from city and state officials not to do so.
Pastor Kris Casey held a worship service Sunday with over 50 people in attendance. Despite a hand-delivered letter from Worcester’s police chief reminding Casey of the highly contagious nature of the coronavirus, the pastor followed through on plans to hold another service Wednesday night, although only 10 people were involved in compliance with state regulations.
"I pray that pastors around this state and around America would be encouraged to stand up and do what we are allowed to do, what we're constitutionally protected to do," Casey said in a service streamed live on the internet.
Attendees will practice social distancing and have their temperatures checked during in-person services, Casey said.
There are enforcement measures city officials can take, including fines, according to the Worcester city manager.
Gov. Charlie Baker has banned all gatherings of more than 10 people in a bid to encourage social distancing and flatten the curve of coronavirus cases.
Baker said that while he's sympathetic to houses of worship, this doesn't outweigh the dangers posed by public gatherings at this time.
"There's lots of data from around the globe in places where people didn't put constraints around houses of worship, where the virus went all over the place," Baker said.