If you were planning on attending church on Sunday, March 15, you should check with your church before going, because if you attend a church where more than 100 people can attend services, it has likely been cancelled.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Saturday, March 14, issued an executive order banning gatherings of more than 100 people and made no exception for churches or faith based communities.

Cooper stated, “We do not have the luxury of a wait-and-see approach. These are hard decisions but they are necessary so we can learn more about the virus. We do not want any regrets in the rearview mirror, and I am guided by one objective – doing what we must to keep people from getting sick and to make sure that those who do can get excellent care.”

The executive order by the governor with the concurrence of the Council of State states: “I hereby prohibit mass gatherings in the State of North Carolina.

  1. A mass gathering is defined as any event or convening that brings together more than one (100) persons in a single room or single space at the same time, such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theater or any other confined indoor or outdoor space. This includes parades, fairs and festivals.
  2. A mass gathering does not include normal operations at airports, bus and train stations, medical facilities, libraries, shopping malls and centers or other spaces where more than one hundred (100) persons are gathered. It also does not include office environments, restaurants, factories, grocery stores or other retail establishments.”

The executive order continues to state that violation of the order is a Class 2 misdemeanor.

In response to the order the Peter Jugis, the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte, which includes Greensboro and the western half of North Carolina, has instructed pastors of churches that hold more than 100 people to cancel their Sunday masses.