Shasta County’s health department is asking people who attended Wednesday evening’s Christian music and faith event in Redding to self-quarantine for 14 days, get tested and monitor for possible symptoms.
After receiving criticism on social media and from county health officials for holding the event, Feucht posted an online statement defending it.
“Masks were made available, social distancing was encouraged, and the gathering was held outside as an extra precaution.
“The freedom to worship God is the constitutional right of every American citizen and those who exercise this right should not be unfairly targeted for criticism.”
What California’s coronavirus restrictions say
Counties not on the list — like Shasta County, which had 268 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Thursday — allow limited indoor worship. Indoor singing and chanting is banned, and indoor attendance is limited to 25% of capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower.
Shasta County’s health agency said Thursday that it empathizes with “all who have had to change the way they worship in the past few months.” But it pointed out that other groups have sacrificed.
“Our students have sacrificed traditional graduations, and people have had to postpone weddings and hold funerals without loved ones present,” the agency said. “Local businesses continue to struggle. If Shasta County ends up on the state’s watch list, our children wouldn’t be allowed to return to school in person, and our businesses and churches will face further restrictions.”
Statewide, more than 12,000 new coronavirus cases were reported Thursday — the second-highest daily tally during the pandemic.
Officials suggest they were misled about the event beforehand
The county health agency and the Redding city government suggested in statements that they felt misled about the event’s magnitude before it happened.
The county agency said Redding officials “were assured that the event would involve social distancing.”
People have the right to peacefully assemble without approval, the city said, but a permit is required “when the organizer is requesting special services or dispensations.”
“This was not supposed to be the case in (Wednesday’s) gathering,” the city said.
“We did that and we never received a response. I assumed that was sufficient and that we had the green light,” he wrote.
The county health agency said the event organizers never contacted it. But after hearing about the event, it did “reach out and … called out the social distancing requirements for outdoor services,” it said.