SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) - A church in Santa Clara has been fined more than $52,000 for holding indoor services during the coronavirus pandemic in violation of health orders.
North Valley Baptist church had already been hit with $15,000 in fines for two church services held on Aug. 23 then one on Aug. 26, according to the East Bay Times.
The publication reports that the church received a cease-and-desist letter from the Santa Clara County Counsel. It said the church was in violation of county health orders by failing to make sure parishioners were wearing masks and social distancing, as well as holding in-person gatherings and singing during services.
Pastor Jack Trieber told his congregation that he expected the penalities to stack up.
In a Facebook video posted from the church's account on Tuesday, Trieber said that over the nine days North Valley Baptist racked up $52,750 in fines.
"We have the right to assemble before God. Not only do we have a constitutional right we have a constitutional command," he said.
Trieber called the county's cease-and-desist letter "harassment" an vowed to keep the doors of his church open.
"We are not closing down this church. I hope you get this message," he said. "I know America does not want this to happen in her country and at this church."