Trump deems churches 'essential', calls for them to reopen

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Trump deems churches 'essential', calls for them to reopen

Saturday, May 23, 2020

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WASHINGTON, DC, United States (AP) — President Donald Trump says he deems churches and other houses of worship “essential” and called on governors across the country to allow them to reopen this weekend despite the threat of spreading the novel coronavirus.

“Today I'm identifying houses of worship — churches, synagogues, and mosques — as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said during a hastily arranged press conference at the White House, where he didn't take questions. He said if governors don't abide by his request, he will “override” them, though it's unclear what authority he has to do so.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had prepared a draft of reopening guidelines for churches and other houses of worship weeks ago that included measures like maintaining distance between parishioners and limiting the size of gatherings.

But that guidance had been delayed for more than a month by the Administration until Trump abruptly changed course.

“I said, 'You better put it out.' And they're doing it,” Trump said Thursday at a Ford Motor Company plant repurposed to make ventilators in Michigan. “And they're going to be issuing something today or tomorrow on churches. We've got to get our churches open.”

Trump yesterday stressed the importance of churches in many communities and took issue with some of the businesses that had been allowed to reopen.

“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential” but not churches, he said. “It's not right. So I'm correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.”

“These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque,” he said.


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