Religious group holding services in Huntington Beach told to stop event

Huntington Beach police were handing out fliers to a religious group holding a gathering on the beach Friday night to let them know their service is not permitted by the city.

The group, known as Saturate OC, gathered at Lifeguard Tower 20 and claimed they were given a permit to hold an event Friday evening, according to the city.

But city officials late Friday issued a statement saying the group has not been given a permit and that the gathering violates Orange County and state orders barring gatherings of 100 or more.

City officials said they told organizers Thursday and Friday to postpone the event until they received the proper permits.

The city said it supports the rights of religious groups to worship, but the organizers "have not instituted safety protocols prescribed by the state and county, and they have refused to obtain a permit for their event.''

Orange County is one of multiple counties in the state on a watch list because of a surge of coronavirus cases.

Huntington Beach police planned on taking a more educational approach
rather than enforcement, a police spokeswoman said.

Saturate OC leaders insist they had a permit.

"This is crazy,'' said Jessi Green of Saturate OC. "HB police issued a permit last week on the beach. City Council refuses to issue a permit and won't allow Christians to worship inside and now outside. Where can we possibly go?''