In-person service not held day after officials issue abatement order for Charlotte church

In-person service not held day after officials issue abatement order for Charlotte church

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A day after Mecklenburg County health officials issued an abatement order against the United House of Prayer for All People, there were no services held at the church.

The order prohibits in-person gatherings until at least Nov. 6 at the church after more than 120 people who attended an event earlier this month tested positive for COVID-19. At least three people have died.

“What I imagined came true. Somebody got sick, and I thought it would just be the seniors," said Willis Harrison, who told WBTV he knew one of the women who died.

Harrison claims she was a member of the church.

“Just so happen a convocation came and it (COVID-19) just went wherever it wanted to go," Harrison said.

In the abatement order, the church is accused of continuing to hold large gatherings and failed or refused to implement social distancing and measures to reduce the spread and further transmission of COVID-19. The order also says the church was set to hold a revival event starting Sunday, ignoring the health department’s request not to do so.

Health officials say the order was the only way to stop the church.

“We believe unless this is abated, we will continue to see increase infections in our community due to this behavior," Mecklenburg Public Health Director Gibbie Harris said during a press conference Saturday.

Harrison said he is also concerned, encouraging others to wear masks and take the proper precautions.

“It’s just unbelievable, 90-something people. I guess it’s gone up since the other day, I just had to sit back and stop quit watching the news for a little bit," Harrison said.

The church declined to comment on the order.

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