LA County has cleared Grace Community Church of any restriction related to COVID-19 "outbreak."
On Nov. 13, the church headed by John MacArthur announced on its website that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has declared it free from COVID-19 "outbreak." The announcement further said the government has rescinded all outbreak-related restrictions and requirements.
The decision came after public health officials conducted a thorough investigation on Grace Community Church, the post revealed.
"We are glad to announce that we received a notice from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Thursday, November 12, saying that we have been cleared of COVID-19 outbreak. After a thorough investigation, Public Health officials have decided to rescind all outbreak related requirements and restrictions on Grace Community Church," the church said on its website.
The Los Angeles County public health officials implemented outbreak-related requirements and restrictions on the megachurch last month. The said restrictions were imposed after the church reported three confirmed cases of coronavirus from their congregation.
As required by the LA Public Health Department, Grace Community Church reported the incident to the authorities who later conducted an investigation. Churches are required to report to the authorities if their COVID-19 cases reach three or more.
The Sun Valley-based megachurch, which has thousands of members, reopened last summer, defying government-imposed COVID-19 restrictions on in-person worship services. The elders, along with MacArthur, said they believed resuming worship services is the Lord's clear command and the church's biblical duty.
Jenna Ellis, the congregation's lawyer argued that the three reported coronavirus cases from Grace Community Church are not an outbreak. She reminded the public that it was three cases out of 7,000 attendees. The church also said that since it started the in-person service last summer, no one has been hospitalized with COVID 19.
LA County, which was recently placed under a purple level of lockdown, has continued to implement restrictions on the operation of establishments like schools and churches.
John MacArthur and his church has stood firm on his belief that the indoor gathering is not in any way a form of rebellion despite having to face legal battles since it reopened. The church assured that everyone will comply with the County's rules on the prevention of COVID 19, such as social distancing and the wearing of face mask.
Judge Mitchell L. Beckloff of the Los Angeles Superior Court said the contempt hearing on a lawsuit filed against MacArthur and the Grace Community Church will be on Jan. 15. The case is about the church's alleged violation of the preliminary injunction issued on Sept. 10.
Charles S. LiMandri, legal counsel for Grace Community Church, said that the county displayed more "animus" on churches than any other institution. He said the county has given more consideration to other establishments like gyms compared to houses of worship.
He also mentioned the temporary restraining order issued by Joel R. Wohlfeil, San Diego County Superior Court Judge, allowing strip clubs to reopen.
"You can't pray to almighty God, but you can watch nude dancing," LiMandri said.