Judge overrules New York's restrictions on religious gatherings
A federal judge has overruled New York's guidelines on religious gatherings.
The ruling came down Friday from a federal judge in Albany. The basis for the decision was that if people can gather for secular activities like protests and shopping in larger numbers than they can also be inside houses of worship at larger capacities.
The injunction blocks Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order, which currently limits religious services to 25% capacity. In Phase Four, that number would go up to 33%.
Judge Gary Sharpe says houses of worship should not be subjected to harsher restrictions if retail shops and restaurants are allowed to be at 50% capacity.
The judge also ruled that the state can't enforce limits on the size of outdoor gatherings since it already chose not to do so during mass protests.
Pastor Sedgwick Easley, of Union Baptist Church in Hempstead, says he still feels it's not safe to allow that many people inside the church so he is ignoring the judge's ruling.
The Diocese of Rockville Centre declined to comment on the ruling.
Both Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's office say they will review the decision.