(Syracuse) Churches and other houses of worship will be among the last things to reopen in New York state, along with concert halls and stadiums.
The earliest they could reopen, then, would be June 26.
“Houses of worship, as if you were to just open them up regularly, with new guidelines, would fall in the last stage,” Mujica said. “That’s a mass gathering. The same thing with a stadium; the same thing with any situation where you have a lot of people together.”
Religious leaders have been searching for guidance on whether and when they can reopen. Cuomo’s executive orders have banned social gatherings, and a local edict from Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon criminalizes non-essential gatherings of any size.
“If it is safe to re-open retail establishments in a given region, it is safe to re-open churches in that region as well,” the letter reads.
Cuomo has said the issue of reopening churches has nothing to do with religion, but rather with mass gatherings. He’s repeatedly cited an early outbreak in New Rochelle, where a “super-spreader” passed the coronavirus to dozens, maybe hundreds of people at a pair of religious ceremonies.