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Justices order review of California virus rules for churches

The high court’s unsigned order Thursday, with no noted dissent, leaves the California restrictions in place for now.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Supreme Court has ordered a lower federal court to reexamine California restrictions on indoor religious services in areas hard hit by the coronavirus in light of the justices’ recent ruling in favor of churches and synagogues in New York. 

The high court’s unsigned order Thursday, with no noted dissent, leaves the California restrictions in place for now. But it throws out a federal district court ruling that rejected a challenge to the limits from Pasadena-based Harvest Rock Church and Harvest International Ministry, which has more than 160 churches across the state. 

Last week, the Supreme Court split 5-4 in holding that New York could not enforce certain limits on attendance at churches and synagogues.

With a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has put most of the state under heightened restrictions, which include a ban on indoor singing and chanting. Newsom warned earlier this week that he may take “drastic" action. On Wednesday, California broke its record for new coronavirus cases reported in a single day. The state reported 20,759 new cases on Wednesday, shattering the previous record of more than 18,350 set just last week. 

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