Ohioans ignoring stay-at-home orders make national headlines

People gathering at Solid Rock Church, OTR party
Posted at 7:54 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 19:54:49-04

Currently, Americans in all but seven states are under some sort of stay-at-home order to help curb the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19, meaning more than 90% of the U.S. population should be staying home during the pandemic.

Unfortunately, not everyone is following the order, and locals who violate directives to stay inside have made national headlines.

This weekend, a 25-year-old Cincinnati man was arrested after live streaming a block party in Over-the-Rhine. Dozens of people could be seen on video gathering close together and standing together on top of cars.

Rashaan Davis, the man filming, can be heard on the social media video yelling “We don’t give a [expletive] about this coronavirus.”

Now, Davis is sitting in Hamilton County jail on a $350,000 bond.

Many of the 43 states with a stay-at-home order include some exemptions for religious gatherings, though Vice President Mike Pence said churches should not host groups larger than 10 people.

But Solid Rock Church in Monroe, ignoring the vice president’s warning, continues to hold in-person services at its megachurch on Hopper Hill Road.

Several community members issued complaints to the city about the large gatherings, prompting Monroe Mayor Jason Frentzel to write a letter to pastors imploring them to reconsider hosting any in-person services.

Those pastors have said people need the church now more than ever. In a brief interview with CNN, one of the church congregants said she believed she would not contract coronavirus because she is “covered in Jesus’ blood,” and that she is not concerned she could spread it to anyone else.

But Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said pastors who continue bringing people together are making a “huge mistake.”

"It is not a Christian thing to do," said DeWine. "It is not in the Judeo-Christian tradition to hurt people."

Perhaps the most high-profile clash over in-person worship came in Florida, where Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne was arrested for violating a county order by hosting a large number of congregants in his Tampa church.

Then, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered religious services essential, overriding any local orders and impeding attempts to shut down future large worship services.

In Louisiana and Maryland, law enforcement have since taken separate action against pastors who continue to host in-person services.

However, the American Civil Liberties Union cautions against law enforcement arresting people for noncompliance, as jail time is potentially more dangerous as it could expose detainees to the virus and may disproportionately affect minority community members.