As law enforcement agencies around the state express their stance of not interfering with the church services, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office reminded their residents they will do the same.


Sheriff Hans Miller held a press conference on Tuesday explaining the department’s stand on first amendment rights for residents in Onslow. It has not changed since the beginning of the stay-at-home order.


“We have received calls from local church pastors about worship services and our answer was very clear from the beginning, we support the first amendment right to worship,” said Miller. “We support people's right to worship.”


Miller added Gov. Roy Cooper’s guidance for church services during “Phase One” of reopening the state is that church services should take place outside unless it is impossible to do so.


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On Monday, Cooper clarified the Phase One order does not prohibit multiple events from happening, in order to meet social distancing requirements of 10 or less people gathering inside.


According to Miller, deputies will not interfere with churches or limit how many people are allowed inside for worship.


“What we suggest is as long as you maintain social distancing, it is perfectly fine to do so whether it is inside or outside,” added Miller. “If you are a family that lives together, then that’s okay for you to to sit together.”


Miller explained the main objective during reopening is to ensure everyone is being safe.


“If you have people that want to congregate to worship or shop, as one human being to another I would say continue social distancing and advise people to wear any type of mask that can cover up how the virus can spread,” added Miller.