President Trump announced on Friday that he would designate churches and other houses of worship as essential services.
Trump said that new Centers for Disease Control guidance will classify houses of worship as “essential,” adding that he would “override” any governors who refuse to open them.
“I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now,” the President said. “If there’s any question, they’re going to have to call me, but they’re not going to be successful in that call.”
Fox News reports: Trump announced the policy for churches, synagogues and mosques, during a short briefing at the White House.
“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 said.
The announcement comes after Trump has been hearing concerns of faith leaders who are unable to hold Sunday services due to coronavirus restrictions at a time when their parishioners are grappling with the crisis. Families may be grieving the loss of loved ones from the virus or struggling with job loss but unable to seek respite in their places of worship.
“I consider them essential,” Trump said earlier Friday of houses of worship of all faiths.
On Thursday, Trump had a conference call with 1,600 pastors and faith leaders from around the country, including Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. He reassured them he wants to get churches reopened.
Trump telegraphed the decision Thursday when he announced he spoke to the CDC on finding ways to reopen houses of worship during the pandemic.
“We’ve got to get our churches open,” Trump said Thursday.