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President Trump calls on churches to reopen this weekend |

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President Trump calls on churches to reopen this weekend

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump said Friday that he has deemed churches and other houses of worship “essential” and called on governors across the country to allow them to reopen this weekend despite the threat of spreading the coronavirus.

“Today I’m identifying houses of worship churches, synagogues, and mosques as essential places that provide essential services,” Trump said during a hastily arranged press conference at the White House, where he didn’t take questions.

The president wants governors to allow them to reopen this weekend.

“If they don’t do it, I will override the governors,” Trump says. “In America, we need more prayer not less.”

President Trump says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention are also issuing guidance for communities of faith to hold safe gatherings.

The CDC had prepared a draft of reopening guidelines for churches and other houses of worship weeks ago that included measures like maintaining distance between parishioners and limiting the size of gatherings.

The president’s comment came one day after he prodded the agency to issue guidelines, so congregations can restart gatherings for worshipers.

“I said, ‘You better put it out.’ And they’re doing it,” Trump said Thursday at a Ford Motor Co. plant repurposed to make ventilators in Michigan. “And they’re going to be issuing something today or tomorrow on churches. We’ve got to get our churches open,” added President Trump.

The CDC previously sent the Trump administration documents outlining steps for religious facilities to reopen, but the White House shelved them at the time out of concerns about the propriety of government making specific dictates to places of worship.

“These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united. The people are demanding to go to church and synagogue, go to their mosque,” President Trump said.