Officials in Los Angeles County have lifted the requirements they placed on Grace Community Church, home of well-known pastor and theologian John MacArthur, after they had connected the church to three COVID-19 cases last month.
"We are glad to announce that we received a notice from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Thursday, November 12, saying that we have been cleared of COVID-19 outbreak," the church said on its website. "After a thorough investigation, Public Health officials have decided to rescind all outbreak related requirements and restrictions on Grace Community Church."
L.A. County has repeatedly tried to penalize Grace Community Church for holding in-person services in defiance of government orders, including threatening MacArthur with arrest, fining the church $1,000 for violating a signage ordinance, and leveling an additional $20,000 in various fines. The church has continued to meet and has won multiple legal victories against the government in court.
MacArthur has openly said "there is no pandemic" from the pulpit, citing statistics from the CDC. More than 7,000 congregants have met at the church since July with no requirement of masks or social distancing. Churches in the Los Angeles area are still forbidden to meet indoors, and only allowed to meet outdoors under strict rules.
After L.A. officials successfully linked three cases to Grace Community in October, the Los Angeles Times wrote an article with a headline dubbing the cases an "outbreak" at the church.
The dropping of outbreak requirements indicates that officials have found no further cases tied to the original three. MacArthur and his staff have asserted that despite being open for months, no one in the congregation has been hospitalized from the virus.