GREENVILLE, Miss. (WJW) — Police in Mississippi issued $500 tickets to parishioners attending drive-in church services on Wednesday.
In wake of the coronavirus outbreak, Temple Baptist Church began running its services using radio frequencies that can only be heard within a one-block radius of the church, WLBT reports.
On Wednesday, their drive-in church service was shut down by local police.
“The police started coming up and we said, well, we think we’re in our rights. And they started issuing tickets, $500 tickets, it may have been 50 — I mean 20 to 30 tickets. Everybody got one, it wasn’t per car. Me and my wife was both in the car together and both of us got tickets,” longtime parishioner Lee Gordon told the news outlet.
Greenville Mayor Erick Simmons claims the drive-in church services pose health violations.
“You’re there for a 2-hour-period of time, folks want to use the bathroom, or go potty, and the little girls want to go use it. Now folks are in and out and they are facing this invisible giant called COVID-19,” Mayor Simmons reportedly said. “What we’ve been asking for in the state is bold leadership from our state, and partnership. If we have clear direction, we wouldn’t have issues that have evolved across the state.”
Another church in the area, who experienced a similar situation, has filed a lawsuit against the mayor saying his order is ” unconstitutional, illegal and must be withdrawn.”