BUTTE COUNTY, Calif.- The U.S. government is stepping in and questioning Governor Newsom's reopening plan, saying it may be unconstitutional when it comes to houses of worship.
The reverend at St. John's Episcopal Church in Chico says they don’t see it as discrimination because of their type of gathering.
Tuesday the Assistant Attorney General sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom saying his four stage reopening plan is not treating houses of worship fairly.
The letter says the Governor is showing an "unequal treatment of faith communities" by preventing them from gathering in person while allowing restaurants retailers to reopen – as long as they follow the safety guidelines.
The letter says religious gatherings should be given that same opportunity, but Reverend Richard Yale says he doesn’t see it that way.
"I don’t see this as discrimination, it’s the type of gathering. It’s different than going to Costco or a market or being in an open area in the park. We have a different set of habits that unfortunately have become vectors for disease and we have to think creatively about our responsibility," said Reverend Yale.
He says they are holding virtual meetings and online worships. Even when they’re allowed to reopen, he says his church won’t do so until they are ready and have all the proper safety measures in place.
Reverend Yale says a group of pastors are meeting with Sheriff Honea virtually on Wednesday night to address some concerns and start discussing safe ways to reopen when its safe to do so.
As of right now churches are included in phase three of reopening plan.