US President Donald Trump on Friday designated all houses of worship as places that provide essential services, paving the way for reopening of churches, temples, mosques and gurdwaras despite the threat of coronavirus.
He asked the state governors to reopen churches and other places of worship, threatening to “override” the state leaders if they refused to follow his directive.
“At my direction, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is issuing guidance for communities of faith,”Trump told reporters at the White House.
“Today I am identifying houses of worship, churches, synagogues, and mosque as essential places that provide essential services,” he said.
Houses of worship across the country had been closed due to social distancing measures implemented to stop the spread of coronavirus.
More than 94,000 Americans have died of the virus as of Thursday evening, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.5 million coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in the country.
The global death toll almost has surpassed 330,000.
“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship. I call upon governors to allow our churches and places of worship to open right now,”Trump said.
He said these places hold our society together and keep our people united.
Trump said that ministers, pastors, rabbis, and other faith leaders will make sure that their congregations are safe as they gather and pray.
“I know them well. They love their congregations, they love their people. They don’t want anything bad to happen to them or anybody else,” Trump said.
“The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now for this weekend. If they don’t do it I will override the governors. In America we need more prayer not less,” Trump said.