Trump declares houses of worship 'essential', calls for reopening

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

Speaking to reporters from the White House today, President Trump demanded that states open their churches "right now".

President Donald Trump is calling churches "essential" during the coronavirus pandemic, telling state governors to allow houses of worship to reopen.

"As ill-advised as these gubernatorial orders are - as essential as is the right to worship, as fundamental as it is - as absolutely protected by the First Amendment as it is, the president does not have any authority to override the governors", he said.

Trump added that if governors do not allow houses of worship to open, he will "override" them - but did not detail how he would do so. "I wish that the president, as our nation's leader, would set a positive example and not travel during thing holiday weekend".

"Here [in New Jersey], the doors are locked and you can not go in for private prayer on your own, much less an organized prayer service or a Catholic Mass", Napolitano said. "You're assuming that governors are gonna keep churches shut down and keep mosques shut down and keep synagogues shut down".

He called on governors to immediately allow churches to reopen, despite concerns from public health experts that allowing large gatherings will increase deaths and cases from COVID-19.

Global COVID-19 cases cross 5 mn: Johns Hopkins
China , ground zero of the virus, has registered 84,063 cases so far and its death toll continues to stand at 4,638. The UK is reportedly one of them, however, the NHS has warned that the country is "running out of time".

When asked directly if she thought it was safe to reopen churches and other places of worship, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said it is safe if those institutions follow CDC guidelines.

"It's not right", Trump said.

There has been debate in some states over allowing facilities providing abortion services, like those operated by Planned Parenthood, to stay open during the COVID-19 shutdown. One California county banned singing during live-streamed church services. "The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque", Trump said.

"Our people want to go back to church on Sundays", Trump said during an appearance in Michigan Thursday.

In a longer statement, the mayor explained that the city is still under a stay at home order and city officials have worked hard to educate constituents about the importance of social distancing and staying home, only leaving for an essential reason.

As a result, the CDC warns faith organizations to be aware of the risk of high transmission rates if they choose to begin gathering in-person.

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