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Some San Diego churches plan to host indoor services this weekend despite restrictions

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Posted at 7:22 PM, Jul 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-24 22:27:38-04

SAN DIEGO COUNTY (KGTV) — Despite the state and county's public health restrictions, some churches are planning to welcome people inside on a limited basis.

San Diego County remains on the state's COVID-19 monitoring list. That means, as of July 15, 2020, indoor activities at Houses of worship are not allowed. But some are back to opening up their doors.

On Thursday, a concerned ABC 10News viewer whose family attends Skyline Church in La Mesa sent us this email:

"My family goes to this church, and they suffer from underlying conditions. They are planning to follow by example and attend church in-person. I am worried about my family getting sick."
- ABC10News Viewer

According to its website, Skyline Church now has an "RSVP for On-Site" option and a "Watch Online" option.

A receptionist told us, they require an RSVP to limit the number of people who can be socially distant inside their auditorium, chapel, or gym. But when we asked for an official comment, or to speak with a member at Skyline, we were transferred to a voicemail.

Its website says attendees also have the option to bring lawn chairs to participate from the church courtyard, or stay in the parking lot and listen to the service from their car radios.

The South Bay Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista is doing something similar.

The church sued Governor Gavin Newsom in May, after the first round of shutdowns. But the US Supreme Court later rejected their appeal to stay open. It, too, has a registration for on-site indoor service.

Sr. Pastor Art Hodges says the church limits indoor attendance to 100 people, practices rigorous hygiene according to federal guidelines, requires masks, and temperature checks, before entry. He sent ABC 10News this statement:

"To date, no one has become infected and tested positive after having attended one of our worship services. Factories continue to operate, large offices continue to operate, airlines continue to operate; all with less safe standards and results as our protocol."
- Art Hodges Sr. Pastor, South Bay Pentecostal Church

The county in a statement that it has engaged with several churches to help them with compliance:

"They [Churches] are allowed to have services outside with proper social distancing and facial coverings. Some were successful in complying, others have fallen short. We continue to work with them. We have been in contact with Skyline and are hopeful they will be in compliance. That is our goal. Compliance. But there are next steps. Cease and Desist or Public Health Compliance Orders.”
- Michael Workman San Diego County