NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - After a U.S. District Judge issued a temporary restraining order on Governor Cooper’s executive order Saturday, the North Carolina Sheriff’s Association (NCSA), along with local sheriff’s, are responding to the ruling.
The NCSA President, Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram sent WECT the following statement.
“I am pleased those who choose to resume worshiping together with their church families will now have the opportunity to do so. I believe we have all learned a great deal from health officials about how to prevent the spread of and exposure to COVID-19 and I am confident that those who do plan to gather together for worship will put those measures in place.”
New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon responded to the judge’s order as well.
“We are in unprecedented times, and our governor is having to make some tough decisions, based on the information he is being given," said Sheriff McMahon to WECT. "I have spoken with several church leaders about their concerns and desire to meet with their congregations. While I would never want churches to become hotspots, I have confidence that any of our churches that decide to meet will take appropriate precautionary measures to keep their congregants safe. I believe that at this point each church leader should be given the discretion as to how they choose to hold their service. I pray that God will give them wisdom and discretion.”
Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene sent WECT the following statement and posted it on Facebook.
“Just to let the citizens of Columbus County know my stance on Church Services,” said Sheriff Greene. “The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing Governor Cooper’s order concerning the religious worship provisions in Executive Order 138. If you can go to Walmart and Lowe’s to shop, then one should certainly be able to grace the doors of the Lord’s house. Be aware that regulations may differ in the city limits but this is the stance of the Sheriff’s Office.”
The governor’s executive order, which required any religious gathering of 10 or more people to take place outdoors only, took effect on May 8. That same day, the NCSA’s Executive Committee unanimously approved a resolution requesting Gov. Cooper amend his most recent executive order. Gov. Cooper responded to their request May 12.