Police in Hammond issued a citation to a church and its leaders Sunday for hosting a service in violation of Indiana's stay-at-home order.
More than 30 members, some wearing masks, congregated inside the Church of Christ on 169th and Leland Street Sunday, according to a post on Mayor Thomas McDermott's Facebook page.
Officers went to the church, explained the stay-at-home order to leadership and asked them to disperse the congregation in an effort to comply.
The elders refused and responded by saying their service was “essential.” Large gatherings, including church services, were directed to be canceled to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to the state's website. Religious leaders were encouraged to continue livestreaming services while practicing social distancing.
In the Facebook post, McDermott added he wanted to show what police are dealing with attempting to enforce the Governor’s order, “even from people (like church pastors) who should know better than to allow large congregations like this!”
The stay-at-home order was initially issued through April 6, but later extended two weeks, until April 21.