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June 30, 2020

NY Judge Orders Officials Cannot Restrict Religious Gatherings

A federal judge blocked New York State officials from enforcing limitations on religious gatherings provided that participants follow social distancing requirements as set forth in the applicable executive orders and guidance. The decision prohibits any restrictions on outdoor religious gatherings AND on indoor gathering limitations that are greater than those imposed on other industries in phase 2.

The ruling comes after long debated arguments over state and city officials allowing for mass protests and re-opening of secular businesses during COVID-19, but restricted any forms of religious gatherings.

"Indeed, in the absence of an injunction, plaintiffs’ religious activities will be burdened and continue to be treated less favorably than comparable secular activities. An injunction, on the other hand, does not undercut defendants’ interest in controlling the spread of COVID-19, provided that plaintiffs abide by social distancing guidance."

Gary L. Sharpe | U.S. District Judge

Read the full decision HERE.

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