MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Roman Catholic and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregations across Minnesota plan to resume holding worship services in defiance of the state’s ban on gatherings of more than 10 people.

The announcement represents the strongest direct challenge yet to restrictions imposed by Gov. Tim Walz to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Archbishop Bernard Hebda and the Rev. Lucas Woodford say the restrictions are an unconstitutional violation of religious freedom.

Also Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey ordered people to wear masks or other cloth face coverings starting Tuesday inside stores, hotels, recreation centers, the skyway system and other government buildings.

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