PHILADELPHIA - The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has responded to President Trump declaring churches "essential" during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As state governments begin to move towards methods of reopening public spaces and allowing residents to start acting with less restrictions, President Trump has expressed an interest in govenors acting quickly.
"The governor's need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open," President Trump stated in an address Friday. "Right now. For this weekend. If they don't do it I will override the governors."
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Trump's controversial stance was met with concern and backlash from health officials and other concerned leaders.
Some leaders are favoring a slow, deliberate reopening rather than a sudden and quick move towards a new normal in fear of furthering the spread of COVID-19.
Trump stressed the importance of churches in many communities and took issue with some of the businesses that had been allowed to reopen.
“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential” but not churches, he said. “It’s not right. So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.”
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia says it will resume daily services starting Saturday, June 6.
In Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf says houses of worship were never closed but large gatherings were banned to control social gathering and limit risk of spreading COVID-19.
Churches remained open during stay-at-home orders and some area churches say Trump's remarks will not accelerate their timeline for reopening.
“We have no plans, me as the church pastor and my congressional council, as our leaders, to change that anytime soon," Rev. Julie Peterson asserted with an emphasis that the church would not be reopening Sunday, May 24.
In New Jersey, Gov. Murphy explained the matter is still being discussed but churches are now allowed to hold outdoor congregations of up to 25 people.
That stipulation of population allowance for gatherings falls within the guidelines released by the CDC.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia says daily and sunday masses will resume the day after Pennsylvania is expected to enter the second stage of reopening.
At this time, the diocese has not yet said if there will be limits on attendance but public gatherings in Pennsylvania will be limited to 25 people maximum.
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