Trump to states: Reopen churches this weekend or I will

Donald Trump

"The churches are not being treated with respect by a lot of the Democrat governors", Trump commented to reporters as he left the White House for a trip to MI on Thursday afternoon.

Trump called on governors to open all places of worship "right now, this weekend".

"I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now", he continued. "If they don't do it, I will override the governors".

He added: "These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united". The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, to go to their mosque.

Establishing what constitutes essential services has been a prerogative of state and local officials, rather than the federal government, and many have restricted houses of worship from holding group services to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

I call upon governors to allow our churches and place of worship to open right now.

After the brief announcement, the president walked out without taking questions as the briefing continued.

Trump said Thursday that he was consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to craft guidelines for the safe reopening. No one was injured, because no one has been allowed to attend services there for some time.

In Virginia, Lighthouse Fellowship conducted a worship service with a congregation of 16 people practicing so-called social distancing in a facility that seats more than 200.

Bishop Joe S. Vásque of the Austin diocese notified Central Texas parishes on April 30 about plans to resume celebration of Mass on May 5 and asked them to follow protocols consistent with earlier guidance from state officials.

The CDC released a report this week highlighting a coronavirus outbreak in Arkansas linked to a church community.

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