HILLVIEW, Ky. — Maryville Baptist Church in Bullitt County offered three ways to attend Easter Service Sunday morning, via Facebook live-stream, a drive-in service in its parking lot, or an in-person service.
Just before its 11:00 am service, there were more than three dozen cars in its parking lot. Shortly after the service started, two Kentucky State Police (KSP) troopers showed up to carry through with Governor Andy Beshear’s order that anyone attending in-person mass gathering this weekend would receive quarantine orders.
“So if you are going to put yourself at risk for getting the coronavirus. If you feel it’s that important, fine, just self-quarantine for 14 days so you can’t spread it to other people,” Beshear said in Saturday night’s update.
The two troopers walked to each vehicle in the parking lot and called in license plate numbers.
Some vehicles had their license plates covered, including the Maryville’s pastor Jack Roberts.
“I mailed a copy to the governor so they didn’t have to come out and get it,” Roberts said. However, a trooper wrote down the VIN of his truck.
Spectrum News 1 didn’t go inside during service, but the church’s live stream showed Pastor Roberts addressed his congregation about KSP in the parking lot.
“I don’t know whether they took our license plates or not, it don’t really matter. Church, I just tell you something, if you get a ticket for being in church this morning bring it to me. My lawyer said he’ll take care of it,” Roberts said during service.
KSP didn’t appear to be issuing tickets. However, they did call in the license plate numbers and left notices on the windshields of every vehicle.
The notice stated in part that its occupants are present at a mass gathering prohibited by orders of the governor.
The notice also stated that the local health department will contact those associated with the vehicle “with self-quarantine documents, including an agreement requiring this vehicle’s occupants and anyone in the household to self-quarantine for 14 days.”
In bold font the notice also stated, “Failure to sign or comply with the agreement may result in further enforcement measures.”
Frank Harris drove from Fayette County to attend the service. He said there were about 100 people in attendance. He wanted to support the church in protest.
“The overreaction to this is going to bring about an economic catastrophe that is far worse than the virus,” Harris said. He said he won’t self-quarantine anymore than he already has been.
“I mean I was at Lowe’s yesterday. There were probably more people at Lowe’s than there were at this church,” Harris said.
Pastor Roberts said there is a hand sanitizer at the pews, and the church has been sanitized. He also said he told people with compromised immune systems to not attend church in-person. Signs on Mayville’s entrance doors encouraged 6-feet physical distancing, but Pastor Roberts said that was up to churchgoers if they wanted to follow it.
“So people hugged us and shook our hands. It was like church,” Sally Oh, who attended church with her friend, Harris, told Spectrum News 1. She said she won’t self-quarantine. In part, she stated, “We need people to get the virus and recover because that builds herd immunity.”
Spectrum News 1 asked if Pastor Roberts recommended during the service for his congregation to 14-day self-quarantine after today’s in-person church service.
“I don’t know if I did or not. I really don’t. I could have; I should have, but whether I did or not I don’t remember,” Pastor Roberts said.
The 76-year-old said he won’t self-quarantine. However, Pastor Roberts said it is up to each member if they want to self-quarantine or not, just like it is up to each of them if they wanted to attend church in-person.