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Catholic Action League Pushes Back Against Somerville Mayor's Church Capacity Restriction

SOMERVILLE (CBS) -- Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone is taking some criticism for restricting religious services to 10 people in houses of worship even though Gov. Charlie Baker has given the go-ahead for 40% capacity.

"We need to make sure as we reactivate these different sectors of our lives they don't contribute to this pandemic. All these faith leaders are seeing that," said Mayor Curtatone.

But CJ Doyle, who heads the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts said Curtatone's restrictions are unreasonable.

"What the mayor of Somerville is doing is very extreme. It's unwarranted. It's also constitutionally very dubious," he said. "There's nothing in the Bill of Rights that says these rights will be upheld except in a public health emergency."

Bob Lahey rides his bike to water the flowers at St. Ann's in Somerville every day, but the church's services are still online.

"I mean I miss it. I really do miss it," he said. "But I come down here to do some cleaning. It really feels good to come down here."

Last week, President Donald Trump said religion is essential, and he'll override any local leaders who restrict services. Mayor Curtatone said he's working with local faith groups to come up with a safe plan.

"Every church, every house of worship, every temple is a different size and scale, and we'll be working on individually tailored site safety plans for all of them," he said.

Curtatone said he does not know when restrictions will be eased.

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