(Syracuse) Churches and other houses of worship will be among the last things to reopen in New York state, along with concert halls and stadiums.
Religious institutions will be part of phase four of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s four-phase reopening plan. That’s because they invite large gatherings, which are a big concern as health officials try to minimize the spread of COVID-19.
The earliest they could reopen, then, would be June 26.
During a briefing in Buffalo Monday, New York Budget Director Robert Mujica said the state is still considering whether to permit small gatherings at houses of worship. But large, regular services will be among the last types of gatherings to reopen.
“Houses of worship, as if you were to just open them up regularly, with new guidelines, would fall in the last stage,” Mujica said. “That’s a mass gathering. The same thing with a stadium; the same thing with any situation where you have a lot of people together.”
Religious leaders have been searching for guidance on whether and when they can reopen. Cuomo’s executive orders have banned social gatherings, and a local edict from Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon criminalizes non-essential gatherings of any size.
A lobbying group in Albany called New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms is urging pastors to sign a letter to Cuomo demanding he include churches as part of phase two of the reopening plan.
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Editors note. This post was written by Chris Baker and published at Syracuse.com. Title changed by PNP News
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