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NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says reopening churches “dangerous”

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio claims it would be too “dangerous” to reopen churches and places of worship during the coronavirus pandemic.

“With all due respect to the president, the president left the impression on Friday that any and all religious services should start again,” de Blasio said at a press conference. “I’m saying very clearly that is dangerous. It is not time to restart large gatherings of any kind even though we deeply, deeply value faith.”

New York state currently limits social gatherings, including those of worship, to 10 people or less. De Blasio said he spoke with major faith leaders in New York City and the consensus is that they would love nothing more than to resume the services that are so important to them.

De Blasio said that these faith leaders understand that it’s not the time to reopen in New York City which has been hit the hardest by the coronavirus in the U.S. and is still struggling with plans to reopen.

“The idea of people coming back together, full services, large numbers of people congregating… It’s not that time. That would endanger everyone and we have to be smart,” de Blasio said.  “We’re really making progress when it comes to this disease. But it is not time for large gatherings. It is not time to take the risk of going in the wrong direction. So, I want to thank all our partners, our faith leaders. We’re going to keep communicating constantly. We’re going to look for every opportunity to support your efforts to restart the right way.”

Trump reiterated last week that places of worship are “essential” and should be able to reopen for worshippers to gather for live sermons.

“Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship, it’s not right. So, I am correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential. I call upon governors to allow churches and places of worship to open right now,” the president said last week.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week that houses of worship could resume services with 10 people or less. He later signed an executive order allowing “non-essential” gatherings of up to 10 people.

De Blasio said he supported both of Cuomo’s directives. but that he did not agree that large scale religious services should be permitted in the city.

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