New York Mayor threatens to “permanently” close churches and synagogues
Speaking to the city’s residents during a daily press briefing on Friday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio warned religious leaders that he would permanently shut down their houses of worship if they did not adhere to the city’s social distancing guidelines.
“A small number of religious communities, specific churches and specific synagogues, are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it’s so widespread,” de Blasio said.
“I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services,” he added.
US federal government’s health officials have asked American citizens to suspend group gatherings through the month of April to better contain the spread of the coronavirus. This is especially important in New York City, which is now the epicentre of the United States’s COVID-19 outbreak.
He announced that if religious centres do not listen to the city’s authorities, law enforcement “will take additional action up to the point of fines, and potentially closing the building permanently.”