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US President Trump declares churches ‘essential,’ calls on them to reopen

Prime News, International, Religion, Health, Disease, Washington (USA), May 23:- United States President Donald Trump has labeled churches and other houses of worship as essential” and called on governors nationwide to let them reopen this weekend even though some areas remain under coronavirus lockdown.

The president threatened Friday to override governors who defy him, but it was unclear what authority he has to do so.

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 at a hastily arranged press conference at the White House. Asked what authority Trump might have to supersede governors, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she wouldn’t answer a theoretical question.

Trump has been pushing for the country to reopen as he tries to reverse an economic free fall playing out months before he faces reelection. White evangelical Christians have been among the president’s most loyal supporters, and the White House has been careful to attend to their concerns throughout the crisis.

Following Trump’s announcement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines for communities of faith on how to safely reopen, including recommendations to limit the size of gatherings and consider holding services outdoors or in large, well-ventilated areas.

Public health agencies have generally advised people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and encouraged Americans to remain 6 feet (1.8 meters) away from others when possible. Some parts of the country remain under some version of remain-at-home orders.

In-person religious services have been vectors for transmission of the virus. A person who attended a Mother’s Day service at a church in Northern California that defied the governor’s closure orders later tested positive, exposing more than 180 churchgoers. And a choir practice at a church in Washington state was labeled by the CDC as an early superspreading” event.

But Trump on Friday stressed the importance of churches in many communities and said he was identifying houses of worship churches, synagogues and mosques as essential places that provide essential services.

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, he added. (Inputs: Agencies, NGB)

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