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West Palm Beach Mayor 'greatly concerned' after hundreds attended religious concert

West Palm Beach Mayor 'greatly concerned' after hundreds attended religious concert (Jeff Michaels)
West Palm Beach Mayor 'greatly concerned' after hundreds attended religious concert (Jeff Michaels)
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The City of West Palm Beach is reminding residents that large gatherings of more than 10 people are not allowed after an event at Meyer Amphitheater.

Hundreds attended the ‘Let Us Worship’ organized by Christian musician Sean Feucht Sunday night.

While the event brought comfort for some, many are concerned about a possible spike in coronavirus cases after a large number of concert-goers were seen in close proximity and without masks, going against the county’s ordinance.

Videos of the concert were shared on the organizer’s page, showing people should-to-shoulder, singing, dancing, even participating in water baptisms.

Carlos Ascensio was at the prayer event, which he said promotes unity and peace.

“Taken into consideration what we’re going through and bringing people from different races, ethnicity together, in unison, is fantastic,” he said.

Business owners, like Pawn Shop Lounge owner Cleve Mash, are concerned about their establishments and the possibility of another shutdown if cases rise.

“I don’t have any issue with what they were doing. My only issue is we’re in the middle of a pandemic," he said. "We’re working really hard as business owners to get the virus under five percent, and we ultimately pay the price if we don’t. When you see something like that, it’s scary. I don’t want to be shut back down, I can’t afford it. I’ll be done for good.”

The City of West Palm Beach tells CBS12 News the organizer initially described the religious gathering as a peaceful protest, which is allowed.

However, the city did not authorize the concert as an event.

The city released this full statement:

“On Sunday, the City of West Palm Beach honored the public’s right to peacefully protest, as we have other demonstrations in our city. However, the City did not issue an event permit and did not authorize the concert as an event. The West Palm Beach Police Department was dispatched to monitor the gathering.

When learning of the gathering, initially described as a religious gathering and peaceful protest to police, the City Attorney reached out to the organizer to warn him of City ordinances governing events and advised him of the County’s facial covering mandate. The City is currently not approving events larger than 10 people for in the near future, except for events deemed essential services.

Of course, Mayor James is greatly concerned about the safety and wellbeing of all residents and visitors, including the participants of Sunday’s gathering. He reminds everyone to continue to practice social distancing, wash your hands, and follow the County’s facial covering directive to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Mayor Keith James also addressed concerns about the event during the city’s meeting Monday night.

CBS12 News reached out to Robert Santos-Alborna, the director of Code Enforcement in Palm Beach County.

He says the department was just made aware of the concert Monday and is currently gathering the evidence they have with their legal department before making a decision on issuing fines.

CBS12 News is still waiting to hear back from the organizer for comment.

Danny Espinosa, a local pastor, helped put this event together and released this statement late Monday night after the story aired on CBS12 News :

"Myself, Randy Skinner and a few others put this event together with Sean Feucht just to worship Jesus. We asked the city for permission they turned it down so we called it a “Worship Protest” we called for Racial reconciliation, restoration of people and families during a time where more people have died to suicide then Covid, prayed for our police, mayor and local officials we did what God called us to do. There is so much more to it but here’s a brief overview. Media is gonna spin this however they want but our city needs Jesus. No this was not a political event."
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