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Washington, May 22 . .- US President Donald Trump authorized the churches to reopen their doors this weekend and threatened to suspend the authority of the governors if they prevent it, which legally is not feasible because the decision rests with local and state entities.

In a press conference this Friday, the president announced the designation of churches, synagogues and mosques as “essential places”, which is why at the federal level they are considered crucial for the United States. in the framework of the pandemic, a category that hospitals or food processors have also entered.

“I urge governors to allow churches and places of worship to open, right now!” Trump said.

The president, in addition, threatened to suspend the authority of the governors if they do not allow it and ended his intervention saying: “The United States needs more prayers, not less.”

Trump did not clarify which presidential powers he was referring to to nullify the power of the governors and, asked by the press, the White House spokeswoman, Kayleigh McEnany, also did not offer any details.


Actually, legally, the federal government has no authority to override the decisions of the governors; who are the ones who have the power to decide whether or not to resume the activity of an area.

What Trump can and has already done is support the accusations against governors who have filed religious institutions, which consider that the restrictions by the virus violate his right to freedom of worship as stated in the US Constitution.

In April, the Justice Department previously supported a pastor of a Mississippi church who was fined for violating an order that prohibited religious services.

In addition, attorneys for that department wrote a letter in May to California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, to complain about the deadlines he had set for reopening churches, later than schools, shopping malls, and restaurants.

Despite the fact that the decision to reopen corresponds to state and local authorities, the president has repeatedly called for “liberation” of those states with stricter measures of confinement, such as Michigan, governed by Democrats and key to the November presidential elections. .


To assist in the process of reopening churches, the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a guideline, recommending that parishioners wear face masks and face masks, as well as keep a distance. about two meters apart.

They also ask religious leaders to increase cleansing measures, consider the option of holding their services abroad, and to avoid physical contact between their faithful, such as hugs, handshakes, and kisses, which are part of some rites.

During the pandemic, some places of worship have proven to be dangerous for their citizens.


For example, in New York State, some of the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in an Orthodox synagogue in the town of New Rochelle, where a lawyer is believed to have participated in various religious services in late February before giving positive and may have spread to other parishioners.

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Likewise, in Washington state, 87% of a church choir ended up infected after one of its members ended up infecting 61 other people, a case that has been studied by CDC experts to understand the rapid spread of the virus .

This week, the CDC released another report analyzing an outbreak in a rural Arkansas church, where of the 92 faithful who attended religious services between March 6 and 11, 3 died and 35 tested positive for COVID- 19.

Trump’s order comes at a time when all 50 US states They have taken steps to gradually reopen to coincide with Memorial Day weekend, which traditionally kicks off the summer season in the United States.

The country remains the focus of the pandemic in absolute terms with more than 1.5 million cases and at least 95,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Beatriz Pascual Macías