Trump Declares Houses of Worship 'Essential,' Says Governors Must Open Immediately
Washington - Houses of worship such as shuls are deemed "essential" places that must be allowed to open immediately, President Trump declared on Friday, adding that if governors don't obey he will override them.
Trump said that the Centers for Disease Control will be issuing new guidance later today classifying houses of worship as “essential,” and they must get priority in opening after coronavirus lockdowns.
"The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now, for this weekend,” Trump said. “If they don’t do it I will override the governors.”
“In America, we need more prayer, not less,” Trump added later.
Governors in states where religion is less strong such as New York have placed religious services on the bottom of their list of priorities to open. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, for example, has put it in phase 4, which would not allow houses of worship to reopen for nearly two months.
Cuomo has allowed ten people to gather for religious services, but has not ruled on whether that means ten for an entire building or per room. This has meant that shuls are grappling with obeying a law that it deliberately vague.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that 25 people may gather for religious services.
Photo by: Official White House Joyce N. Boghosian