The California Attorney General’s office just notified the Thomas More Society that the State officially lifted all capacity limits on churches, effective April 12, 2021. This news came shortly before Thomas More Society attorneys were scheduled to discuss the deposition of the California State Health Officers – as well as key documents that the State had to turn over – before an evidentiary hearing next month in South Bay United Pentecostal Church, et al v. Gavin Newsom, et al. On Friday, April 9, the Supreme Court issued its 5th rebuke of California’s religious discrimination. After Thomas More Society attorney Paul Jonna read that case, he sent the following email to the Attorney General’s office:
“Please confirm before our 1 pm call on Monday whether/when the State plans to update its guidance to set churches at 100% capacity. Otherwise, we will seek further appellate relief — which will inevitably result in the 6th rebuke from SCOTUS of the unfortunate strategy chosen by your clients. It’s time for the State of CA to get the message from the Supreme Court and stop fighting to maintain unconstitutional restrictions on religious exercise. Your clients’ obstinate refusal to follow the law will only result in a larger attorneys’ fees award at the end of this case.”
In response, the California Attorney General’s office informed the Thomas More Society that California had “revised” its guidance, which can be found here: https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/
According to Mr. Jonna, “The capacity guidance for places of worship is now only ‘recommended’ and not mandatory. This is a huge win that God has provided for all people of faith.”
Background on South Bay United Pentecostal Church, et al v. Gavin Newsom, et al. here.
The above comes from an April 12 email from the Thomas More Society.