Virginia urges residents to anonymously report churches for congregating
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RICHMOND, Virginia, June 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – The Virginia Department of Public Health is urging residents to “snitch on” public gatherings and other activities that violate Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam’s coronavirus orders, including churches.
The Washington Free Beacon reports that the health department’s website has been updated to include the option to anonymously report to the state neighbors who exceed the emergency limits on building capacity or refuse to wear masks. The form allows users to specify the “type of establishment” they’re reporting, including “indoor gun range” or “religious service.”
Additional types of establishments that can be reported are grocery or convenience stores, restaurants, brick and mortar retail stores, wineries or breweries, “personal grooming service[s],” gyms, and “other.”
“If you have observed violations of Executive 63 or Executive Order 65 and wish to file a complaint, fill out this report form as completely as possible,” the portal states. “The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) has the authority to enforce Executive Order 63 and section A of Executive Order 65. VDH will review your complaint and forward it to your Local Health Department.”
Under Northam’s Phase Two” rules, “religious services must be limited to no more than 50% of the lowest occupancy load on the certificate of occupancy of the room or facility in which the religious services are conducted. Individuals attending religious services must be at least six feet apart when seated and must practice proper physical distancing at all times” (with the exception of family members).
“These complaints can be made anonymously. There is nothing to prevent businesses from snitching on competitors, or to prevent the outright fabrication of reports,” Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain responded. “So, it appears that the full force and weight of the state government is poised and ready to drop on restaurants, churches and wineries for perceived violations of the Governor’s orders while the Governor equivocates and prevaricates when it comes to its enforcement in connection with protests, demonstrations and riots – as long as participants are his allies.”
As of June 23, the United States is estimated to have seen more than 2.4 million COVID-19 cases, with more than 122,000 deaths and one million recoveries. An estimated 40 percent of those deaths have come from nursing homes. Virginia has more than 58,000 cases and 1,645 deaths.
As in many states, the draconian restrictions Northam has imposed on public activity in the name of containing the virus has provoked a significant backlash.
“There’s a lot at stake,” Virginia Family Foundation president Victoria Cobb told LifeSiteNews earlier this month. “And we’re hoping Virginians realize there’s more at stake than ever.”
A Great Falls, Virginia Catholic family is suing Northam over his original March 30 order banning gatherings of more than 10 people.
Earlier during the coronavirus crisis, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tip line, to which New Yorkers were urged to text photos of violations of so-called social distancing rules, backfired. It was flooded with photos of genitalia, obscene hand gestures, de Blasio dropping the Staten Island groundhog (it later died of internal injuries), and Hitler memes about how turning neighbors in is the “Reich” thing to do.