UPDATED 10:18 AM PT — Monday, May 4, 2020
Ky. Gov. Andy Beshear has been blocked from entirely banning gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic. A federal appeals court allowed drive-in church services, an alternative backed by Beshear, to continue as long as participants adhere to public health requirements.
This morning Kentuckians are worshipping safely through virtual or drive-thru services. Thank you to our faith leaders who are protecting their congregations and planning a safe reopening. ^AB #TogetherKy #TeamKentucky #HealthyatHome pic.twitter.com/C55dt5oUm5
— Andy Beshear (@AndyBeshearKY) May 3, 2020
This came after Maryville Baptist Church Pastor Jack Roberts sued the governor last month for allegedly violating religious freedoms with his lockdown orders. On Easter Sunday, state troopers placed notices on churchgoers cars ordering all attendees to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“It’s all in the First Amendment to the Constitution, you don’t stand out there without that protection,” said Pastor Roberts. “If you got that protection, we should have, you can’t divide that First Amendment up.”
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron supported the lawsuit and claimed Beshears’ orders targeted faith-based gatherings and violated the First Amendment.
On Saturday, the court also declined to block in-person church gatherings. It claimed it was not comfortable extending an injunction since it received the case just 24-hours prior.
According to Beshear, church-goers will be allowed to resume in-person services at a reduced capacity on May 20 as part of the state’s reopening plan.