Court rules against church’s request to overturn restrictions barring indoor worship services

Coronavirus
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2021 file photo medical staff members walk between traffic cones at a mass COVID-19 vaccination site set up in the parking lot of Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif. Five weeks into its vaccination program, California still doesn't have nearly the supply to meet demand and there's growing angst among residents over the difficulty to even get in line for a shot. Social media is awash with people seeking or giving tips on how to maneuver through the system. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong,File)

FILE – In this Jan. 22, 2021 file photo medical staff members walk between traffic cones at a mass COVID-19 vaccination site set up in the parking lot of Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif. Five weeks into its vaccination program, California still doesn’t have nearly the supply to meet demand and there’s growing angst among residents over the difficulty to even get in line for a shot. Social media is awash with people seeking or giving tips on how to maneuver through the system. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong,File)

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court has denied a Southern California church’s request to overturn the state’s coronavirus restrictions barring worship services indoors during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sacramento Bee says Friday’s ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals leaves the door open for addressing Gov. Gavin Newsom administration’s limits on church attendance if a California county is in a less-restrictive COVID-19 tier.

A three-judge panel ruled against South Bay United Pentecostal Church of Chula Vista over public health orders that restrict religious services from being held inside while virus case rates and hospitalizations remain high.

Currently in California, indoor worship services are banned in all purple-tiered counties — those deemed to be at widespread risk of coronavirus transmission. This tier accounts for the vast majority of the state.

Just four counties are in less-restrictive tiers.

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