Trump considers houses of worship ‘essential,’ in Utah it’s up to religious leaders to decide when to open

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WASHINGTON (AP/ABC4 News) — President Donald Trump on Friday labeled churches and other houses of worship as “essential” and called on governors nationwide to let them reopen this weekend even though some areas remain under coronavirus lockdown.

The president threatened to “override” governors who defy him, but it was unclear what authority he has to do so.

RELATED: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints releases phased plan to return to some weekly worship services

“Governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now — for this weekend,” Trump said at a hastily arranged press conference at the White House. Asked what authority Trump might have to supersede governors, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she wouldn’t answer a theoretical question.

Trump has been pushing for the country to reopen as he tries to reverse an economic free fall playing out months before he faces reelection. White evangelical Christians have been among the president’s most loyal supporters, and the White House has been careful to attend to their concerns throughout the crisis.

Under Governor Herbert’s direction, in Utah places of worship are able to hold in-person services of any size “as long as a distance of at least six feet is maintained between household groups.” This applies under the orange/moderate-risk phase and yellow/low-risk phase.

“Each faith group will decide for itself when to resume in-person religious services,” state health officials say.

For more on religious service guidelines in Utah click the link.

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