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A conservative law firm is calling a new order in Kansas City, Missouri, "Nazi-like" for requiring churches to "surveil, track, and spy" on anyone who attends an in-person service, but the mayor is pushing back.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas' 10/10/10 rule took effect May 5, restricting nonessential businesses, like churches, to 10 people inside and 50 people outside, as long as they practice social distancing.
In addition, nonessential businesses can operate at 10 percent maximum capacity.
The mayor said in late April that venues "need to keep track of those who come in" for more than 10 minutes, and the written order states each "should consider maintaining a record of customers."
But the mayor's office said tracking people is voluntary. The purpose of recording names and contact information is to help the health department “more quickly trace, test, and isolate individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19.”
"Kansas City asks organizations that typically record attendance, like many church gatherings on Sundays ... to maintain those records however they prefer in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak," Lucas told Fox News in a statement Tuesday.
"Our goal isn’t to see what everyone is doing and be Big Brother," according to FOX 4, but that's not how many in the community see it.
At least one church feared its rights were being violated and contacted Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, a legal nonprofit that has been defending churches amid coronavirus lockdown orders.
“They’re targeting people and you have to give them your name and contact information as a prerequisite,” Staver told the "Todd Starnes Show" Monday. “What did they start doing in Nazi Germany? They started targeting people. They started to collect their names and their data so that they knew who they were and where they’ve been.”
Attorney General Bill Barr's Justice department is looking into the matter, according to Staver, who threatened legal action if the policy doesn't change. The DOJ recently sided with a Virginia church suing Gov. Ralph Northam after police threatened a pastor with jail time or a $2,500 fine for violating an executive order and holding a 16-person church service on Palm Sunday.
"These attacks on churches cannot stand," Staver added in a statement Friday. "We will fight these cases all the way to the Supreme Court if we must."
Beyond church walls, business owners have complained they can't operate under the strict guidelines, FOX 4 reports.
Lucas encouraged anyone who sees a business or church violating the new guidelines to report them on the city's 311 line.