BEVERLY HILLS— On Friday, May 22 President Trump declared churches and other places of worship as essential business allowing them to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a White House Press Conference President Trump said that worship churches, synagogues, and mosques are essential places that provide essential services.
“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship. It’s not right so I am correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential”, said President Trump.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for communities of faith on how to safely reopen. “Guidance is not intended to infringe on rights protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution or any other federal law, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA).” adding, “no faith community should be asked to adopt any mitigation strategies that are more stringent than the mitigation strategies asked of similarly situated entities or activities.”
All of this coming only a few months after a Florida pastor, Rodney Howard-Brown of the River at Tampa Bay, was arrested for continuing to hold church services despite the Coronavirus’ Shelter in Place laws that were passed. Many churches made the decision of holding only online services, something that they have done before, except this time, the viewership is higher.
President Trump also stated, “I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now. If there are any questions they will have to call me but they’re not going to be successful in that call. These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogues and go their mosque. Many millions of American embrace worship an an essential part of life.”
Governor Gavin Newsom made an announcement on Friday that California would release guidelines for reopening places of worships on Monday, May 25.
In areas like Los Angeles, where the current cases of the Coronavirus have reached 44,055 according to the Los Angeles Public Health Department, leaders of these places of worship will make sure that their congregations are safe as they gather to ensure that the Coronavirus doesn’t spread any further within the communities of worship.
The CDC states that places of worship will have to scale up the operations of safety by promoting healthy hygiene practices, using face coverings while also promoting social distancing, hoping to provide a significant amount of safety and protection for workers and the people who attend worship services.