San Diego church continues indoor services despite outbreak and cease and desist orders

Posted at 7:46 AM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-30 09:46:23-05

Awaken Church continues to hold indoors services, despite orders from San Diego County to close all indoor religious services due to COVID-19 restrictions.

According to the San Diego County website, three of the Awaken Church locations have received cease and desist orders. The location at 7620 Balboa Ave. received a cease and desist order July 17, 2020, the Carlsbad location received one Nov. 16, 2020 and the Chula Vista location received one Nov. 19, 2020.

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In addition, San Diego County put out a notice that anyone who went to the location at 7620 Balboa Ave. between Nov. 15 and Nov. 22 needs to quarantine for two weeks because of a community outbreak. The county said a community outbreak had occurred there, which is when there are three or more reported cases from different homes in the span of two weeks.

Related: County asks Kearny Mesa church attendees to quarantine after COVID-19 outbreak

An attendee at the San Marcus location said he feels comfortable attending in person and indoors.

“I think it’s really about having individual choice and trusting people to have the intelligence to do the right thing, and this church has a wonderful uplifting message that I think is so positive and hopeful for people in a time where we find ourselves somewhat down,” said Brian.

Brian said that the San Marcos facility is spacious so people are able to spread out, adding that the right to worship freely is in the constitution.

“Try to preserve as much of our freedoms and liberties as we can. We’re all being responsible, we all have the intelligence to be responsible and yet at the same time, not give into the fear rhetoric, but to make confident positive decisions,” said Brian.

The church’s website says people are not required to wear masks during the indoor services, rather it’s up to the person’s personal comfort levels. Also, the website asks attendees to refrain from posting pictures and videos of the services on social media.

A video of church leaders posted on the website describes their decision to remain open for in person and indoor services.

“We’ve made this decision not out of defiance but out of obedience to God,” two people said in a video on the website, adding that they plan to continue in person services.

A county spokesperson said if a cease and desist order is ignored, the next step would be a closure order. After that, law enforcement is asked to get involved by giving citations with a thousand dollar fine for each violation; then the case goes to either the San Diego District Attorney or City Attorney.