Walz administration: Discussions continue over size of religious gatherings

| May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

Even as President Trump declared May 22 that governors must reopen churches and other places of worship shut down by the coronavirus pandemic, Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said at a news conference on the outbreak that discussions in Minnesota are continuing with faith leaders.

Gov. Tim Walz has stayed with a 10-person limit directive for religious gatherings. Archbishop Bernard Hebda of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the other Catholic bishops in the state have decided not to accept that limit. After gearing up to allow parishes to offer Masses at one-third capacity with social distancing and other safety precautions beginning May 18, then postponing that because of the 10-person limit in the governor’s latest Stay Safe Minnesota plan, the bishops have decided to  go to one-third capacity beginning May 26.

But talks between faith leaders and the Walz administration are continuing, Malcolm said at the news conference May 22.

Trump spoke at a previously unannounced news conference at the White House. He said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were “issuing guidance for communities of faith,” and declared “houses of worship, churches, synagogues and mosques” to be “essential places that provide essential services.”

Malcolm said Minnesota officials will review and work with the CDC guidance for religious gatherings. She said the state will continue to emphasize that crowd size, proximity and length of contact between people are important factors to consider in trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

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Category: Local News