Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear pleaded with residents to remain indoors for the Easter holiday and mandated that anyone who breaks the state’s stay-at-home order will have to self-quarantine for two weeks.
Churchgoers planning to defy the state’s social distancing guidelines to attend Easter services this Sunday will have their license plates recorded and receive orders to self-quarantine in person.
“We’re having to take a new action, and I hoped that we wouldn’t, and it’s that any individual that’s going to participate in a mass gathering of any type that we know about this weekend we’re going to record license plates and provide it to local health departments,” Beshear announced during a press conference late Friday. “Local health departments are going to come to your door with an order for you to be quarantined for 14 days,” Beshear said.
“This is a time and weekend, a whole week for multiple faiths, that is about faith. It’s about knowing we have faced as people – as Christians, as Jews, as members of many faiths – many difficult, dark times, and we have prevailed,” Beshear said. “We know that the weeks or the months ahead will be difficult. We know that there are going to be tougher days before there are easier days. This is the only way we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill someone else.”
Beshear said the state government is only aware of six churches that are planning to hold in-person services for Easter.
Those attending any mass gatherings will be charged with a misdemeanor violation of the emergency orders issued by the governor and Kentucky Department for Public Health.
“I want to encourage you to meet together separately this Sunday, to remind you that on that first Easter Jesus came to people behind locked doors,” Chris Michael, pastor of the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ, said. “He will come to you as well.”
The announcement comes after The Kansas City Star reported on Wednesday that at least two deaths from the coronavirus have been linked to a church conference held in mid-March in Kansas City, Kansas. A handful of churches around the country have defied state social distancing orders in recent weeks, drawing national headlines with controversial in-person services.
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (R) slammed Beshear’s order in a tweet, saying he needs to “take a step back.”
“Taking license plates at church? Quarantining someone for being Christian on Easter Sunday? Someone needs to take a step back here,” Paul, a staunch libertarian, tweeted.
Taking license plates at church? Quarantining someone for being Christian on Easter Sunday? Someone needs to take a step back here.
Kentucky Governor Announces Plan to Record License Plates of Easter Church Goers and Force Them to Quarantine for 14 Days https://t.co/z7U42liQRh
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) April 11, 2020