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Churchgoers sue Beshear over virus outbreak measures

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Posted at 6:21 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 22:41:20-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — A group of churchgoers from Northern Kentucky has sued Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, arguing the state’s prohibition on in-person church services amid the coronavirus pandemic violates the Constitution.

The three attended an in-person church service near Louisville on Easter. State police placed notices on the cars in the parking lot of Maryville Baptist Church during the service, ordering the churchgoers to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Beshear has banned mass gatherings in the state during the outbreak, and said church gatherings are no different. The governor said this week that Maryville’s Easter service has attracted too much attention, since it was one of only a handful of churches in the state that chose to have an in-person service Sunday.

The three Kenton County plaintiffs in the federal suit, Theodore J. Roberts, Randall Daniel and Sally O’Boyle, said they attended the Easter service but stayed 6 feet (2 meters) away from others and wore masks inside the church. They also argued in the suit they don’t show symptoms of the virus so they should not be ordered to quarantine.

They are asking a judge in U.S. District Court in Covington to declare Beshear’s order relating to the churches be ruled unconstitutional. Beshear has said his mass gathering orders do not single out churches, and has spoken daily of his own faith and ways to pray without attending church in person.

Elsewhere, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is warning people about new scams related to the coronavirus that are being aimed at Medicaid recipients. Cameron said scammers may target Medicaid beneficiaries in order to illegally bill the Medicaid program for unnecessary services and equipment.

Anyone who believes they may be a victim of Medicaid fraud during the pandemic should contact the Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Hotline at 1-877-ABUSE TIP.