US church ask top court to block governor virus limit

In this Oct. 30, 2020, file photo, California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 testing facility in Valencia, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, Pool, File)

A church in the state of California has asked the US Supreme Court to block Governor Gavin Newsom's COVID-19 restrictions on social gatherings, according to reports.

The Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena filed a suit Tuesday with the Court for an emergency injunction to overturn the order that restricts gatherings at houses of worship during the coronavirus pandemic.

"For over nine months, the Governor has continued to discriminate against Churches' religious worship services while permitting myriad nonreligious entities to continue to gather without numerical restrictions inside the same house of worship and in other external comparable congregate assemblies," the filing said.

Forty-one counties in California, representing 94% of the state's population, have had restrictions on indoor religious services since Nov. 21.

The church slammed Newsom for publicly supporting mass protestors but personally disregarding rules he put in place after his photograph was taken Nov. 6 in a restaurant with a large group that was against his indoor dining restriction.

Newsom was photographed without wearing a face mask, and later admitted he made a "bad mistake."

"For the Governor, COVID-19 restrictions are apparently optional and penalty free. But for Churches or anyone worshipping in their own home with someone who does not live there, COVID-19 restrictions are mandatory and enforced via criminal penalties," the filing said.

Newsom reminded Californians they are required to wear a mask in public spaces June 20 and said via Twitter: "We're seeing too many people with faces uncovered."

California has the third-highest number of deaths among US states with 18,883, while hospitalizations in the western state last week soared 77% compared to the previous two-week average.

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