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9th Circuit sympathetic to Nevada churches in COVID-19 fight

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Posted at 8:27 PM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 23:27:58-05

RENO (AP) — A three-member U.S. appeals court panel appears sympathetic to arguments by lawyers for two Nevada churches that say state COVID-19 restrictions treating churches differently than casinos and other secular businesses violate their First Amendment rights.

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The 9th Circuit panel in San Francisco heard arguments Tuesday from lawyers for the churches that want the appellate court to reverse earlier district court rulings upholding hard attendance caps Nevada's governor has set on the size of indoor worship services.

They say churches should be held to the same standards that allow casinos, bars, restaurants and others to operate based on a percentage of their capacity, not a hard cap.