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Police to record license plates of churchgoers Easter weekend

Updated: Apr. 10, 2020 at 11:19 PM CDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Just days before Easter, Mayor Greg Fischer asked people to refrain from attending any type of in-person gatherings for the holiday.

“In order to save lives we must not gather in churches, drive through services, family gatherings, social gatherings this weekend,” Fischer said during his daily coronavirus update on Friday.

He added if there are in-person gatherings, LMPD will hand out information explaining the health risks involved with gathering. Fischer asked LMPD to also record license plates of all vehicles in attendance, which will be shared with the health department.

Louisville Metro Public Health Director Dr. Sarah Moyer said collecting that information would be helpful for them in the event that someone becomes ill.

"If we have a case, then we have a list of names of who needs to quarantine and isolate," Moyer said. "It'll just make our investigation go quicker as well."

Fischer urged Louisvillians to stay home this weekend and not attend any Easter services in person.

"If we allowed this in Louisville, we'd have hundreds of people driving around the city on Sunday and boy the virus would just love that," Fischer said.

Governor Andy Beshear made a similar announcement, saying police across the state will also be recording license plate information from any individual at a mass gathering. He added the information would be given to the local health department.

"Local health departments are going to come to your door with an order for you to be quarantined for 14 days," Beshear said. "If you're going to expose yourself to this virus, and you make that decision to do it, it's not fair to everyone else out there that you might spread it to."

These orders won't apply to drive-in church gatherings.

For the past several weeks, On Fire Christian Church in Louisville has been hosting drive-in church services.

Now, First Liberty, a religious liberty law firm, filed a lawsuit on behalf of the church against Fischer, asking for a temporary restraining order. Attorney Roger Byron told WAVE 3 News the church has followed the CDC’s guidelines by keeping cars 6 feet apart and windows no more than half open for the entirety of the service.

"The drive-in service On Fire Christian Church wants to have is far, far safer than what you will see in any Walmart parking lot, or outside of a steakhouse or outside of a golf course or any other establishment where people are allowed to park in their cars and be there," Byron said. "All we're asking is for the mayor to assure us that we are permitted, that On Fire Christian Church, is permitted to hold its lawful drive-in church service on Easter Sunday as it has done for many, many Sundays leading up to Easter. We're simply asking to be treated like any other parking lot outside any other establishment, except the drive-in services are handled far more securely, with far more security and far more social distancing."

Attorney General Daniel Cameron said Friday as long as religious groups are complying with current CDC recommendations for social distancing, there would be no problem with drive-in services.

In Indiana, Governor Eric Holcomb said people must limit gatherings to 10 people, park cars 9 feet apart and never leave the car.

"It's time for our families and our neighbors to stay safe," Holcomb said. "It's time to serve them in this way through distancing."

He said people could meet in their cars a field or parking lot, but communion must be prepackaged.

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