Churchgoers refused to be denied their Easter service on Sunday as they defied the Kentucky governor’s executive order prohibiting mass gatherings. The worshippers also wouldn’t be stopped by a parking lot full of nails and police who were ready to record their license plate numbers.
On Sunday morning, there were dozens of cars in the parking lot of the Maryville Baptist Church in Hillview, Kentucky.
There appears to be an effort to try to sabotage people from attending Sunday services because there were metal nails scattered at every entrance to the church parking lot.
The church’s pastor, Rev. Roberts, told WAVE3 News reporter Jerrica Valtierra that he believed the nails were intentionally spread to stop people from attending Easter services. The nails were cleaned up by church volunteers before Sunday’s services.
About 50 people attended the Maryville Baptist Church on Sunday. Outside in the parking lot, two Kentucky State Police troopers placed quarantine notices on parishioners’ car windshields and wrote down their license numbers.
The notices said: “Where people congregate unnecessarily, or fail to follow adequate social distancing practices, they are spreading COVID-19, CREATING SCENES OF AN EMERGENCY. THIS VEHICLE’S LICENSE PLATE HAS BEEN RECORDED.”
This notice also said: “Employees of the local health department will be contacting those associated with this vehicle with self-quarantine documents, including an agreement requiring this vehicle’s occupants and anyone in the household to self-quarantine for 14 days.”
“Failure to sign or comply with the agreement may result in further enforcement measures,” the notice read.
Some of the worshipers listened to the Sunday service through the outdoor speaker, and they did not receive quarantine notices.
“Everybody has to do what they feel comfortable with,” Rev. Roberts said.
On Sunday, the reverend did cover the license plate on his vehicle while at the church as well as some parishioners, according to the Courier-Journal. Officers took down the VIN instead.
“I don’t know whether they took our license plates or not; it don’t really matter,” Rev. Roberts said during Sunday’s service, which was livestreamed. “Church, I’ll just tell you something: If you get a ticket, if you get a ticket for being in church this morning, bring it to me; my lawyer said he’ll take care of it. It’s garbage; it’s just garbage. I took a picture of my license plate on the back of my car and sent it to the governor yesterday. I just said, ‘Save yourself a trip, right here it is. Ain’t no need in coming out.'”
“There’s hand sanitizer in every pew,” one church attendee said.
On March 19, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear banned all mass gatherings, including faith-based events.
On Good Friday, Beshear issued a warning to churches considering hosting Easter services.
“I hope everybody knows that even on a weekend like this we cannot have in-person gatherings of any type,” the Democratic governor declared. “We absolutely cannot bring people together in one building like that because that is how the coronavirus spreads, and that’s how people die.”
This comes a day after a federal judge ruled that the Democratic mayor of Louisville could not prohibit drive-in Easter church services. On Thursday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer issued a ban on Easter church services, even if congregants stayed inside of their vehicles.
On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Justin Walker ruled that Fischer’s directive was “unconstitutional,” and granted a temporary restraining order.