Church holds worship event hours after indoor ban takes effect

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SAN DIEGO — A church in Kearny Mesa held a large gathering Wednesday night, hours after places of worship in San Diego County were ordered to cease indoor operations.

FOX 5 received video of worshippers singing as a band played at Awaken Church on Balboa Avenue, near Interstate 805. A viewer said an estimated 100 to 200 people were inside, some not wearing face masks or practicing social distancing.

The church livestreamed the 7:30 p.m. “Empower Night” event on its Facebook and Instagram.

On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the closure of indoor operations at houses of worship, gyms, barber shops, salons and non-essential offices in San Diego County and 29 other counties on the state’s monitoring list. All California counties were also ordered to close bars and indoor operations at restaurants and wineries. The order went into effect at midnight Tuesday.

FOX 5 reached out to county officials about whether any churches were given an exemption to hold a mass gathering inside a church, and reached out to the church itself, but has not received a response.

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