Fischer Newser - 3-9-20

Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville, March 9, 2020.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Mayor Greg Fischer said Louisville Metro police will attend known church gatherings this Easter Sunday to collect license plate information so that the Metro government health department can follow up with attendees to share information about the coronavirus and find out with whom they've been in contact, as part of efforts to stop the virus' spread.

Fischer said during his daily press briefing that he was "imploring, begging, requesting" the "handful" of churches in Jefferson County known to be planning services not to go forward with those plans, saying they would violate Gov. Andy Beshear's executive order prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people during the pandemic emergency.

"We're continuing to talk to these folks and ask them not to do that, to please reconsider," Fischer said. "If there are gatherings on Sunday, Louisville Metro Police Department will be there on Sunday handing out information detailing the health risks involved, and I have asked LMPD to record license plates of all vehicles in attendance. We will share that information with our public health department, so they can follow up with the individuals that are out in church and gathering in groups, which is clearly a very, very unsafe practice."

Fischer also held firm in his stance against drive-in church services, saying even those gatherings could lead to incidental contacts between people and community spread of the virus.

Fischer, a Democrat, said he disagrees with Republican Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who said in a statement Friday he has "no problem" with drive-in church services so long as participants adhere to U.S. CDC guidelines on social distancing.

"As long as Kentuckians are permitted to drive through liquor stores, restaurants, and other businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, the law requires that they must also be allowed to participate in drive-in church services, consistent with existing policies to stop the spread of COVID-19," Cameron said.

Asked about Cameron's stance, Fischer said: "You might have a legal right to do something but that doesn't make it the right thing to do."

Jefferson County recorded 25 newly confirmed cases of the virus on Friday, bringing the total to 520. An additional six Jefferson County residents have died, Fischer said, bringing the total to 42.

Reach reporter Chris Otts at 502-585-0822, cotts@wdrb.com, on Twitter or on Facebook. Copyright 2020 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.