SMITHFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) — Four local sheriffs say they won’t enforce the governor’s stay-at-home order when it comes to in-door church services.
The sheriffs of Halifax, Harnett, and Nash County said they agree with Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell.
Bizzell said Wednesday he “would lay down [his] badge and go home” before enforcing it.
“Why has the church been singled out?” Bizzell said.
He’s grown frustrated. For weeks churches in the area have abided by the Governor’s stay-at-home order. They’ve held services online and more recently, done drive-ins.
“How long is this going to last? They didn’t build the sanctuaries to sit in their cars in the parking lot and look at,” Bizzell said.
Then we entered Phase One, retailers were allowed to re-open at 50 percent capacity. Bizzell said churches should have been included. Instead, there remains a ten-person limit.
“If Lowe’s and these other stores can do it, at least our state government can allow churches to use their better judgment and common sense and the CDC guidelines to protect their brothers and sisters in the church,” he said.
That’s why Bizzell told CBS 17 his deputies won’t enforce the ban.
The governor responded at Thursday’s press conference.
“We know that churches can be hotspots for the virus because people are together standing or sitting for more than an hour,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.
New Life Baptist Church in Smithfield plans to hold an in-door service come Sunday.
Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone put it this way. “I would rather you turn toward the Lord than the liquor store. I’ve not enforced it and don’t intend to enforce it.”
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