Water and utilities may now be cut off for places in Los Angeles that continue to host large gatherings of people.
In accordance with a policy that went into effect on Friday, August 7th, if the Los Angeles Police Department responds to and verifies that a large gathering is occurring at a home, business, or venue, and the properties are reoffending time and time again, then police will provide notice and initiate a process where water and utilities will be shut off within 48 hours.
The policy was announced earlier in the week by Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), who says people must stop gathering in large numbers as part of an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19.
"All the sacrifices can be undone by those who refuse to follow the science and who refuse to follow the rules and put our economy and our community at risk," he argued.
Critics of the effort say people and politicians are failing to include or focus on the number of COVID-19 recoveries as well as the death rate compared to the number of cases and population size. Meanwhile, attorneys like Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) are keeping a close eye to make sure this does not carry over into in-home Bible studies, prayer gatherings, and efforts to assist the elderly or people in need.
"It's one thing for the mayor to have concerns regarding large parties being held and the spread of the disease being recklessly dealt with," Dacus begins. "It's another thing for a mayor or city to use this in any way to infringe upon the rights of individuals."
Pacific Justice Institute is currently involved in legal battles over churches having worship services despite COVID-19 orders against gatherings of a certain size.
More people are becoming familiar with the situation involving Pastor John MacArthur, but he is not the only pastor in trouble. PJI is representing Pastor Wyndford Williams of All Nations Church of God in Christ in the San Francisco Bay Area.
"It's a small African-American church of 180 attendees who wear masks, have safe distancing, and he is, as we speak, in the process of being criminally prosecuted," Dacus reports.
Pastor Williams faces a penalty that includes up to a year in jail and numerous fines against his church.
"That is what we're actually dealing with right now," the attorney continues. "Pastor John MacArthur is dealing with threats, but we're actually defending a small African-American church being criminally prosecuted."
MacArthur's church, Grace Community Church recently issued a statement titled "Christ, Not Caesar, is Head of the Church."
At least two criminal pre-trial hearings have been held for Pastor Williams thus far.