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NC churches win temporary right to worship indoors, Gov. Cooper reacts to judge's ruling

Judge rules North Carolinians will be allowed to worship indoors for two weeks, opposing governor's COVID-19 executive order.

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina church-goers won the right to temporarily worship indoors after a judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit against Gov. Roy Cooper's COVID-19 executive order.

The lawsuit claimed the governor's orders violate worshipers' constitutional right to worship freely. The executive order only allowed gatherings of 10 people or less indoors.

A judge heard the case Friday afternoon and an emergency motion was granted Saturday afternoon.

The restraining order temporarily will allow people to worship indoors for 14 days, officials said.

“This was a victory for all of North Carolina — not just our church," said Dr. Ron Baity of Return America. Dr. Baity filed the suit. He's the pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

The governor's office maintained the executive order is still best for the interest of the safety of North Carolinians.

“We don’t want indoor meetings to become hotspots for the virus and our health experts continue to warn that large groups sitting together inside for long periods of time are much more likely to cause the spread of COVID-19,” a statement from Cooper’s office said.

The full court case will be heard on May 29 at 10 a.m. 

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