More than 1,200 pastors have signed declaration of essentiality, keeping in mind the necessity of physical distancing, churches plan to reopen services on May 31, said Attorney Robert Tyler representing a church in Lodi.
Many pastors represent multiple churches. So at least 3,000 churches are expected to reopen services, Tyler said. The Lodi church had sued Governor Gavin Newsome for not allowing churches to reopen. The government has allowed some businesses to reopen. However along with churches, hair salons and conducting sports events is still banned.
Newson in his announcement had said that churches will not take months to open, but weeks. Earlier, head of the US justice department's civil rights division had slammed Newsom in a letter and stated that stay-at-home order discriminates against churches and places an unfair burden on religious facilities. Newson or his office has not responded to the news of churches reopening.
It can be noted that California was the first state in the U.S. to issue lockdown orders. Almost all churches had followed the order and offered online mass for people while enabling them to participate in the service from home.
No Use of Electricity on Sabbath
Another issue recently cited was that electricity cannot be used on Sabbath. Rabbi Michael Barclay of Temple Ner Simcha synagogue in Westlake Village till now had been streaming his services online. But orthodox Jews do not use electricity on the day of Sabbath and thus cannot participate in the service, he said. Barclay is also said to have signed the declaration of essentiality and is all set to reopen in-person service on May 31.
Currently California has 88,444 confirmed cases of coronavirus and reported 3,630 deaths so far. Los Angeles County has highest number of confirmed cases, 43,052, and 2,042 deaths. Riverside County has 6,053 confirmed cases and 270 deaths. San Diego County has 6,026 confirmed cases and 222 deaths, Orange County has 4,500 confirmed cases and 88 deaths, San Bernardino County has 3,707 confirmed cases and 157 deaths.
Recently, it was reported that a devotee who tested positive for coronavirus had attended the service at Mother's Day Church in Butte County. The devotee reportedly had put 180 people who had attended the service that day in danger.