Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A federal court ruled Friday that Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear cannot temporarily ban mass gatherings at religious services, giving churches and other religious institutions a pathway to hold services, AP reports.

The big picture: Churches in some states have been challenging governors' short-term bans on mass gatherings, saying stay-at-home orders infringe on Americans' right to religious assembly. However, state and local officials are trying to balance that freedom while slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

The state of play: Kentucky churches and other places of worship must adhere to social distancing and hygiene guidelines when they reopen.

  • U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove said Beshear had “an honest motive” in trying to protect Kentuckians' health and safety amid the coronavirus outbreak, but the governor didn't give "a compelling reason for using his authority to limit a citizen's right to freely exercise something we value greatly — the right of every American to follow their conscience on matters related to religion.”

Zoom out:

  • In Virginia, Gov. Ralph Northam argued that allowing churches to hold gatherings of more than 10 people "would seriously undermine" efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, AP reports. The state is being sued by Lighthouse Fellowship Church of Chincoteague after its pastor received a citation for hosting 16 people at a Sunday service.
  • In Michigan, three churches are suing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order in federal court, claiming it infringes on their First Amendment rights to assemble, per The Detroit News.

Go deeper: God and COVID-19

Go deeper

Aug 10, 2020 - Health

At least 48 local public health leaders have quit or been fired during pandemic

Former California public health director Dr. Sonia Angell on Feb. 27 in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

At least 48 local and state-level public health leaders have retired, resigned or been fired across 23 states since April, according to a review by the AP and Kaiser Health News.

Driving the news: California public health director Dr. Sonia Angell resigned on Sunday without explanation, a few days after the state fixed a delay in reporting coronavirus test results that had affected reopenings for schools and businesses, AP reports.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
19 mins ago - Economy & Business

Americans' trust in the Fed keeps falling

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.3% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' trust in the Federal Reserve fell again in October, with just 34% saying they have a fair amount or a great deal of trust in the central bank in the latest Axios/Ipsos poll.

What's happening: While trust in the Fed rises with age, income level and among those who say they know more about the institution, there was not a single group where even half of respondents said they trusted the Fed.

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: California to independently review FDA-approved coronavirus vaccinesWisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b---ards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  5. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown as cases surge — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 5 million infections