County officials concerned about huge religious service at beach

Coronavirus

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA, Calif. — A large gathering of worshipers on Cardiff State Beach in North County Sunday evening has county officials concerned about the potential to spread the coronavirus.

Chief County Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wootan talked about the gathering Monday at a county coronavirus update. “We are saddened by violations that were witnessed on Sunday,” she said. “In the photos I saw, it really was a massive group of people gathering together without social distancing and without wearing facial coverings.” 

Hands to the sky and shoulder to shoulder, the group of more than 1,200 people sang, prayed and some were even baptized. The service appeared to take place in violation of county health orders, and county officials say they are investigating.

The event was organized by a group called Let Us Worship, founded by Christian leader Sean Feucht. The group described the gathering as part of  an ongoing outdoor tour of gospel-style worship.  According to Feucht’s website, the group held similar outdoor events in Pasadena, Bakersfield, Fresno and Huntington Beach.  

Local residents voiced concerns about the defiance of county health orders on social media. FOX 5 ask the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department how many citations were issued at the event, but the state beach is not under county jurisdiction.  When we asked local state park officials, they referred us to their Sacrament office, which has not issued a statement.

Sheriff Bill Gore talked about the event on the FOX 5 Morning News Tuesday.  

“We saw a church service,” Gore said. “Unfortunately, it started off with the right idea, but they didn’t socially distance, didn’t wear face masks. So that’s the type of gathering that’s going to prolong this coronavirus quarantine that we’re in.” 

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