Large, maskless worship performance at Elevation Church draws heat from health director

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In a video posted on social media Thursday, dozens of people can be seen crowded around, as a praise band performed at Elevation Church in Ballantyne. It appears no one was wearing a mask.

Channel 9′s Joe Bruno has gotten several messages about the video since it was posted.

The video, which has been viewed by thousands, is the latest video to draw concern from Mecklenburg County health director Gibbie Harris.

Harris said they have the right to worship, but she wants them to take precautions.

“We have had conversations with them and continue to have conversations with them,” she said.

The church said every person seen in the video and in the building at the time tested negative for COVID-19. It’s unclear when the tests were administered, and if people quarantined before and after the results.

Harris said a negative test isn’t a free pass.

“A negative test is a point in time. That does not mean that person could not become infected or is not already infected,” the health director said.

The county isn’t able to confirm whether anyone at that gathering had tested positive for COVID-19 since then, but said there are no clusters associated with it at this time.

While church services are not part of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions, Harris is asking for Elevation to take extra precautions.

“Obviously, it is their First Amendment rights to worship in the way they see fit, but we are asking them, as we ask everyone else in our community, to wear a mask, social distance and not gather in large groups,” Harris said.

Channel 9 reached out to Elevation to see if the church had anything else it would like to share, but we have not heard back. A spokesperson for Elevation did not respond to a request for comment.