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Butte County worship centers adapt to closing indoor operations

Now that Butte County has been placed on the state's watch list, worship houses will not be allowed to gather inside this coming Sunday. Action News Now Christina Vitale shares what some local groups are doing to keep the faith.

Posted: Jul 24, 2020 10:23 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2020 3:22 PM

CHICO, Calif. - Now that Butte County has been placed on the state's watch list, worship houses will not be allowed to gather inside this coming Sunday.

The pastor at the Grace Community Church said some of the changes their church is going to see next week include the programs that were once held inside the worship center will now be moved outside on campus.

"We can't have anyone in our buildings for any public purpose," Senior Pastor Bryan Meyers.

Gov. Gavin Newsom adding Butte County to the watch list Wednesday, ordering places of worship to close all indoor operations.

"We've been forced in every way to move things outdoors," said Meyers.

Meyers said they have a Sunday service outdoors and broadcast online for people to watch from home.

"We don't want people to feel socially distanced we do set up that way it actually creates an 8-foot gap between households," he said.

Meyers says they encourage people to wear face coverings and work to create a safe comfortable environment, which he says is so important for people right now.

"We need to trust that people are trying to put their best foot forward I think people need to understand that's true of the church that we're really trying to serve and love our community well we're not trying to assert our rights we're really trying to love and meet people where they are and meet their spiritual needs that are very real that honestly no one else can unless they're in a work environment," said Meyers.

The City of Chico's code enforcement told Action News Now they lack resources to cite churches that continue indoor services.

Officials said they are going to take the educational approach if there is a complaint. They will be able to provide face masks and hand sanitizer and encourage compliance within the community.

The Grace Community Church will now hold its Celebrate Recovery Program outside on Thursdays at 6 p.m.

The new restrictions for places of worship go into effect on Saturday, July 25, and remain in place until the state takes further action.

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Aside from the haze and smoke, we've had beautiful weather in northern California today, and it will be just as nice tomorrow. A storm is coming our way, however, and we'll have very unsettled weather this weekend.
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