Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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COVID-19 ‘super-spreader’ event feared in L.A. as Christian singer defies health order for concerts


A conservative evangelical #Christian singer with a history of defying COVID-19 health mandates plans three days of #New #Year’s gatherings in the #Los #Angeles area, including stops on skid row and at a tent city in #Echo #Park, raising fears that the events will be viral “super-spreaders.”

#Skid row activists plan a car blockade to stop #Sean #Feucht — a #Redding, #Calif., volunteer pastor and failed #Republican congressional candidate — and his followers from staging what is billed as a “massive outreach” #Wednesday evening on skid row, at the height of #Los #Angeles #County’s pandemic crisis. #Feucht’s plans come as #California, facing record case counts and a severe shortage of intensive care hospital beds, has extended its stay-at-home order.

#Feucht began hosting “Let #Us #Worship” open-air concerts nationwide to push back against government restrictions on religious gatherings, then broadened his focus to cities that erupted in protest after the police killing of #George #Floyd in #Minneapolis.

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#Feucht’s events have featured hundreds of maskless worshipers tightly packed together and singing and dancing. #He has another homeless outreach planned #Thursday at #Echo #Park #Lake, site of nearly 100 homeless tents, followed by a #New #Year’s #Eve party and concert at a church parking lot in #Valencia.

#In a #YouTube video —part of an extensive social media campaign to promote the L.A. dates — #Feucht said a couple of thousand glow sticks had been ordered for a bash he predicted could rival his worship service this year on the #National #Mall, which drew hundreds of people.

#Charles #Karuku, a #Feucht associate who travels with the singer, said they tell followers to heed government health guidelines, “but we are not law enforcement. #It’s up to the people how they choose to come.”

#But #Stephen “Cue” #Jn-Marie, pastor of #Church #Without #Walls, a skid row congregation, said, “We know based on his track record whatever he’s going to do is going to be maskless.” #Jn-Marie is organizing the car blockade with #Los #Angeles #Community #Action #Network, a skid row anti-poverty activist group.

“The problem we’re facing is even prior to the stay-at-home order, people come into the community and say they’re bringing resources but what they’re bringing is the disease,” said #Jn-Marie, adding that the outreach event could undo the self-help measures the skid row community took, including distributing masks and street wash stations and sponsoring testing events. “It doesn’t take thousands to start an outbreak.”

The homeless population in #Los #Angeles has generally avoided serious COVID outbreaks throughout most of the pandemic, although it has seen a significant uptick in recent weeks, in keeping with the wider surge in infections nationwide.

The #California #Poor #People’s #Campaign wrote a letter calling for city and county officials to quash #Feucht’s events. The campaign offered a legal justification for enforcement of county health orders, but #Los #Angeles has not generally used police powers on individuals to back up pandemic restrictions, and homeless outreach events do not require permits.

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“Police know how to show up and issue orders to disperse an illegal gathering,” said #Nell #Myhand, co-chair of the #California #Poor #People’s #Campaign.

#Asked for a response to the enforcement question, mayoral spokesman #Alex #Comisar said #Mayor #Eric #Garcetti implored everyone to wear masks and practice social distancing.

L.A. #Councilman #Kevin de #León, who represents skid row, said his office and the mayor’s staff will be on skid row #Wednesday morning distributing personal protective equipment and sanitation kits to homeless people, but did not comment on possible enforcement of county COVID-19 health orders.

#Our expectation is that those attending the scheduled outreach event take steps to care for our community and protect vulnerable #Angelenos on skid row by wearing masks and honoring social distancing guidelines,” de #Leon said in a statement.

#Feucht has upcoming events scheduled in #Orange #County and #San #Diego, according to his website. #Tom #Grode, a skid row resident and activist who began petitioning the city a month ago to stop the skid row event , called #Feucht’s plan to come to #Los #Angeles “incredibly foolish … divisive and dangerous.”

“The problem is any of these events could get weird in different ways,” #Grode said.

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#Cathy #Callahan, who has been following #Feucht’s career online with dismay, spent two hours #Tuesday calling the #Los #Angeles #Police #Department, the mayor’s office, county health officials and the state attorney general, asking if they were going to shut the #New #Year’s events down. #She said she was bounced from office to office without receiving an answer.

”#If not, why is #California issuing lockdowns or stay-at-home orders?” #Callahan asked.





[ source link ]
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-12-30/christian-worship-tour-flouting-health-mandates-puts-unhoused-on-skid-row-echo-park-at-risk

#COVID19 #superspreader #event #feared ##Christian #singer #defies #health #order #concerts

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