DC to pay $220,000 to settle church lawsuit over COVID-19 restrictions

D.C. has agreed to pay $220,000 in legal fees to settle a lawsuit by a church over the District’s COVID-19 restrictions.

The Capitol Hill Baptist Church sued the city last year, claiming that the District’s restrictions on in-person religious gatherings discriminated against them at a time when large protests were allowed in the District.

The church won in federal court in October.

The District doesn’t admit any wrongdoing in the settlement, but says it “will not enforce any current or future covid-19 restrictions to prohibit CHBC from gathering as one congregation” in the District.

In April, the District rejected a request from the church for a “COVID-immune” section for fully vaccinated parishioners that would have allowed more than 300 people to gather without social distancing requirements. The request did not ask to do away with masks.

D.C. will pay $210,000 to the law firm WilmerHale and $10,000 to the First Liberty Institute.

WTOP’s Melissa Howell contributed to this report.

Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2012 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He went to George Washington University as an undergraduate and is regularly surprised at the changes to the city since that faraway time.

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