SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Santa Clara County officials on Friday announced they have requested a court order directing San Jose’s Calvary Church to stop holding large religious services that violate state and local COVID-19 health orders.
According to a press release issued by the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and the County Counsel, the church located on 1175 Hillsdale Avenue near the Almaden Expressway has been hosting weekly indoor church services attended by as many as 600 people without masks or social distancing.
Under the current Santa Clara County health order, indoor gatherings for religious or other purposes are capped at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less, with masks and social distancing requirements being followed.
According to the release, county officials have spent months trying to work with the church to bring them into voluntary compliance voluntarily, issued fines when the church violated the order.
“After church officials made clear they had no intention of ending their dangerous conduct, the County Counsel and District Attorney filed the request for a court order,” county officials said.
A hearing in the case is scheduled in Superior Court on Monday, November 2, 2020.
“The obligation to preserve and protect life is at the heart of all major faiths,” said District Attorney Jeff Rosen. “We are grateful that virtually all religious congregations in the county have adapted their services to not risk the safety of their congregants or the community. All of us are making difficult sacrifices that are saving lives.”
The court action follows a number of well-publicized incidents where church services and other large gatherings without social distancing and masks caused super-spreader events. Santa Clara County officials are taking action to prevent these large outbreaks as communities around the country see large surges in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths.
More information on the current Santa Clara County COVID-19 health order is available on the county’s Public Health website.