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Jonesville pastor express concerns on Alachua County emergency order

Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 6:29 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Alachua County Commissioners met on Tuesday to discuss additions to the county’s emergency order, but the pastor of Jonesville Baptist Church posted a video on Monday with concerns on the proposed additions.

“Enough is enough,” said Cheramie “It’s time for pastors to stand up and churches to say you don’t have authority over us.”

Pastor Corey Cheramie of Jonesville Baptist Church saw a draft on Monday of an emergency order that would ask people who are fully vaccinated to show proof when gathering.

“Enough is enough,” Cheramie said in his video. “It’s time for pastors to stand up and churches to say you don’t have authority over us.”

The Alachua County communications director, Mark Sexton said the board decided on Tuesday to not ask residents for proof, but instead ease restrictions.

“What changed in yesterday’s order was an easing in restrictions on gatherings, in that people who are vaccinated can gather without social distancing and without masking,” said Sexton.

While Cheramie still has some concerns, he said he’s happy to hear that proof will not be required as he thought in his video on Monday.

“The vaccination passport that I know is in one of the original drafts that I saw, I don’t think was the one that was voted on yesterday so that’s good,” said Cheramie.

County commissioners have stated that residents can gather in large or small groups as long as they’re six feet apart, and that aspect of the order has been in place since fall 2020.

Related story: Alachua County’s mask mandate is still in effect, at least for another month.

“They can have as many people as they want at their services,” said Sexton. “If social distancing isn’t possible, then we ask them to put on a mask.”

Cheramie said meeting is essential for all churches and there’s no need to keep these orders in place.

“I don’t think they should be limiting how many people should be able to come into our church and who can come and worship because we believe that what we do is essential,” said Cheramie. “I think the time has come for these emergency orders to cease.”

Commissioners will review the emergency order, which includes the mask mandate, on April 13th.

The emergency order does expire on May 12th, but the board can decide to extend based on recommendations from the state of Florida, CDC, and/or UF Health.

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