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Three Chicago Churches Cited For Disorderly Conduct For Holding Services Over Weekend

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Three churches were issued disorderly conduct citations for holding services last weekend in violation of Gov. JB Pritzker's stay at home order.

The following churches received two $500 citations: Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church, 4850 N. Bernard, Pastor Reverend Cristian Ionescu and Metro Praise International, 5405 W. Diversey, Governing Elder Ricky Rivera

Police issued one $500 citation to Philadelphia Romanian Church of God, 1713 W Sunnyside, Pastor Reverend Bishop Florin T. Cimpean.

"The Chicago Police Department has been working to ensure full compliance with the Stay at Home order. As part of this effort, we continue to ask everyone to help slow the spread of the virus by staying home and practicing social distancing so that once we have begun to recover and reopen, residents can return to their religious services in a safe manner," police said in a statement.

Local districts continue to monitor for large gatherings in their communities, including faith and religious gatherings that may draw large crowds, police said. Consistent with department practice, any businesses, establishments or organizations not abiding by stay at home orders will be issued a citation.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Pritzker have repeatedly urged churches to find alternative ways of holding services, without allowing gatherings of more than 10 people, by holding Zoom videoconferences, or live-streaming video of services.

Metro Praise International Church in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood held three 45-minute services on Sunday, with dozens attending each one.

Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Albany Park hosted services on Sunday, despite a federal judge rejecting their request for a temporary restraining order allowing them to hold services with more than 10 people in defiance of the stay-at-home order.

Philadelphia Romanian Church in Ravenswood held Sunday services, but city officials put no parking signs on nine blocks surrounding the church in an effort to limit how many people could attend.

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