Bill to make places of worship exempt from executive orders like pandemic gathering limits killed in Va. Senate

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Posted at 10:41 AM, Mar 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-09 11:45:49-05

A bill was blocked in the Virginia Senate on Monday that was aimed at making places of worship exempt from executive orders.

The Virginia Legislative Information System lists the bill as "defeated" by a tied vote.

There were seven votes in support of the bill and seven against with zero absentees.

The bill stated that no rule, regulation or order issued by the Governor of Virginia or any other government entity "pursuant to the Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Services and Disaster Law of 2000," would apply to places of worship.

This bill came after executive orders during the COVID-19 pandemic closed churches for in person services as COVID-19 cases and deaths surged.

In March of 2020 churches had to plan alternative ways to offer services after Gov. Ralph Northam banned the mass gatherings of over 100 people in the commonwealth. The declaration came a day after Virginia experienced its first coronavirus-related death.

Churches were able to reopen to in person large gatherings in May of 2021 as Northam lifted all capacity and social distancing restrictions.

Related: Local faith-based community weighs in on church membership decline amid pandemic