Attorneys for Northam, churchgoers come to agreement on removing certain COVID-19 restrictions

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 9:50 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - After claiming Governor Northam’s orders illegally put more COVID-19 restrictions, mandates and limitations on churches and churchgoers than any other category of operation within the Commonwealth, four Madison County churchmen emerged with an agreement.

In Brian Hermsmeier et al. v. Hon. Ralph S. Northam, the plaintiffs argued the Governor’s coronavirus orders against churches went against the Virginia Constitution, Virginia’s Bill of Rights, the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom and other provisions of the Code of Virginia. The four Madison County men: Brian Hermsmeier, Joe Sansone, Mike Sharman and Charlie Sheads called to attention that these laws give Virginians more freedom of religion than the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Governor Northam and his attorneys agreed that for churches with fewer than 250 attendees, the only remaining restriction is Executive Order 63 (face coverings). The face covering restriction now looks at the individuals, rather than the church as a whole, when it comes to responsibility for wearing a mask.

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