Texoma church still holding in-person services during COVID-19 crisis
A Grayson County church says it will continue holding worship services in person. Members of the community say they are not okay with it.
King's Trail Cowboy Church in Whitewright is staying open and took off their front doors to welcome anyone at any time of day.
"It was a packed house, you could hear the singing, you could hear everything from outside," said Whitewrite resident Ed Thayer. "they're just being so blatantly irresponsible and have no regard for the rest of this community."
"So we do not believe we are in violation of the executive order, and as of right now we're going to continue to meet," said King's Trail Cowboy Church Pastor Jason Norton.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order, GA-14, states that religious services in Texas are considered essential services and can remain open as long as they follow social distancing guidelines from President Trump and the CDC.
Norton said the church is doing more good than harm by staying open.
"We have helped out tremendously already. We could pull in several people to testify of how much staying open 24/7 has helped many families," Norton said.
Thayer said what the church is doing is not fair.
"Almost all my kids are in healthcare. I've got paramedics, respiratory therapists and nurses. It's personal," Thayer said.
He said he does not believe the church is truly following the guidelines.
Several of the church's own videos on youtube show service as normal, without following social distancing guidelines.
"If something happens with that large of a group, it would overwhelm the healthcare system," said Amanda Ortez, spokesperson for the Grayson County Health Department.
Ortez said the county is working to make sure everyone is following proper guidelines, meaning social distancing and no groups larger than 10.
"The likelihood that one of those individuals could potentially be infected with COVID-19 of course it increases," Ortez said.
A spokesperson for the Grayson County Sheriff's Office said they are not investigating because the church is considered essential. When asked what happens if the church does not follow CDC guidelines, they had no comment.