San Jose church continues to violate COVID-19 orders after $300K in fines

Santa Clara County wants a court order blocking a San Jose church from holding indoor services that violate coronavirus health orders. 

Calvary Chapel has been hosting weekly indoor service with about 600 people who are not wearing masks or social distancing, county officials said in a statement on Friday. 

Under the county's health order, indoor gatherings for religious or other purposes are capped at 100 people, masks must be worn, and social distancing requirements must be followed.

County officials said they spent months trying to work with church leaders to get them to come into compliance, but Calvary Chapel has continued to defy orders, even after being hit with $300,000 in fines. 

"After church officials made clear they had no intention of ending their dangerous conduct, the County Counsel and District Attorney filed the request for a court order," officials said in a statement.

Health officials have long stated the heightened risk of COVID-19 exposure at large gatherings without social distancing and face coverings. 

"We cannot allow any organization in our community to willfully and repeatedly violate these orders, while everyone else, including other churches and religious organizations in the County, are complying," said Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams.