Crowd of worshipers flouts social distancing in California as state reports most COVID-19 cases in US

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, gathering in large crowds has become taboo, but that didn’t stop a large group of worshipers from assembling at the Sundial Bridge Wednesday night in Redding, California.

The religious organization Hold the Line orchestrated the event, marking the first of five stops on its “#LetUsWorship" Tour.

Local officials were under the impression it would only be a small gathering, so there would be no need for a permit.

RELATED: California surpasses New York state in confirmed virus cases

But cameras captured hundreds of people in attendance, ignoring social distancing guidelines — which discourage the public from being less than six feet away from the next person.

A promotional post on the group’s Facebook page encouraged participants to bring masks.

But according to KRCR, many attendees did not wear facial coverings — despite Gov. Gavin Newsom making them mandatory in public spaces more than a month ago.

Cameras captured hundreds of people attending a worship service Wednesday night, many of them without masks and ignoring social distancing guidelines. (Credit: Robin Overstreet via Storyful)

Sean Feucht led the service. He’s known locally for his work with Bethel Church School of Supernatural Ministry, but the church denied sanctioning the event, KRCR reported.

The Golden State once received praise for being the first state to issue a stay-at-home order. Despite being the most populous state, California managed to limit the spread of the virus with its early actions.

Even so, much of the state began reopening in early June. Like most of the country, California’s cases went up.

RELATED: As cases mount, LA County warns coronavirus is far deadlier than the flu

Now, with more than 421,400 positive tests, California has the most cases of COVID-19 in the United States, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

As of July 23, more than 8,000 people had died from the disease.

This story was reported from Atlanta.