The US has made major strides in reopening large swathes of the economy, but there’s one sector that has curiously been kept locked down: Churches.
Donald Trump has taken issue with the fact that many states are still not allowing churches to reopen, and announced on Thursday that he had given the CDC the order to release new guidelines allowing houses of worship to reopen safely.
Churches have been targeted specifically in many lockdown orders, with some Democrat leaders going so far as to arrest pastors and threaten to close churches down permanently for non-compliance early on in the pandemic.
Now, as even non-essential retail businesses and restaurants are being allowed to reopen, churches in most states are still required to keep their doors closed.
Donald Trump has begun publically campaigning against extended lockdowns in recent days, and said on Thursday that “Americans who need and want to return to work should not be vilified. They should be supported.”
He revealed to reporters that he had just spoken to CDC leaders about loosening social distancing guidelines for churches specifically.
“I said ‘I want the churches to open, our people want to go back to church on Sundays, and our churches want to take care of their parishioners,” Trump continued. ”
“I think you’ll have something come down very soon from CDC. We want to get our churches back. They’re so important in terms of the psyche of our country. I think churches are essential.”
Churches push back
Though the US already weeks into recovery mode after virus infections peaked in late April, the CDC has not released guidance for churches to begin meeting in person again.
The Washington Times reported that “The CDC had issued a plan this week for reopening places such as restaurants, summer camps and child-care facilities, but churches weren’t included.”
Trump affirmed what many across the nation have come to believe in recent days: “The churches are not being treated with respect by a lot of the Democrat governors.”
Some churches aren’t waiting for the go-ahead from the CDC or the state. A group of 1,200 pastors in California announced their intention to begin holding services again in May in spite of the state-wide stay-at-home order.