BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Officials say a Baltimore City church is continuing to hold services despite COVID-19 violations.

Greater Grace World Outreach Church is off Moravia Road in northeast Baltimore.

Back in December, health department officials said the church received a warning because people weren’t wearing masks.

When inspectors found the same issue a few months later in March, they shut the church down. But leaders there defied the orders and continued to hold in-person services.

In Sunday’s sermon, a pastor referenced the ongoing issue.

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“But somewhere I read the freedom of assembly, somewhere I read the freedom of speech, somewhere I read the freedom of the press, somewhere I read that the greatness of America is the right to protest for rights,” said the pastor, whose name did not appear on the screen.

WJZ asked attorney Adam Ruther, a partner with Rosenberg Martin and Greenberg Law Firm, about the constitutional elements of this case.

“The constitutional right to assemble, the constitutional right to practice your religion are obviously sacrosanct, they are incredibly important, but that doesn’t mean that they can never be limited in a reasonable way if the government sees it’s necessary to do so for a compelling purpose,” he said.

Businesses that have violations are supposed to submit a plan before they can re-open.

The city says the church has submitted plans for Easter, but officials are still waiting for a more extensive safety plan.

WJZ reached out to church officials to get additional comments other than what was said online during their Sunday service. We will update you if we get a response.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Ava-joye Burnett