The Latest: Tennessee worship event violates health measures

Sean Feucht sings on stage with his family, Ezra, 5, Keturah, 9, and Malachi, 7, in front of the west steps of the state Capitol as protesters gathered at Liberty Fest to protest Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, May 23, 2020. Hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Capitol on Saturday to protest against California's stay-at-home orders even as residents entered the Memorial Day weekend with newly expanded options for going to the beach, barbecuing and shopping. (Jason Pierce/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nashville officials are investigating a worship event outside the historic courthouse Sunday that packed together a big, largely unmasked crowd, despite rising new case counts of COVID-19 in Tennessee.

Nashville Health Department spokesperson Brian Todd says “appropriate penalties” will be pursued against the organizer, saying that person didn’t submit an application to health officials or permit application to any Nashville department.

“We have worked very hard to slow the spread of COVID by taking a measured approach to protect the community,” Todd said in a statement Monday. “The Health Department is very concerned by the actions that took place at the event and we are investigating and will pursue appropriate penalties against the organizer.”

Event leader Sean Feucht posted videos of the gathering on social media, calling it a protest. Feucht has been associated with similar gatherings elsewhere, including in California, Washington and Georgia.

“We had THREE venue changes and so much resistance BUT THE CHURCH WILL NOT BE SILENCED!” Feucht tweeted Sunday about the Nashville event.

Nashville is limiting gatherings without city approval to 25 people. Approved events can occur at 30% capacity, with 500 people maximum and masks required.

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