Ohio churches, religious entities asked to cease in-person congregations

Posted at 2:58 PM, Mar 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 15:12:09-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — While religious entities are exempt under Governor Mike DeWine’s stay at home order under effect, they are now being asked to cease services for the time being to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

During Saturday’s press conference, DeWine said that Ohio Department of Health director Dr. Amy Acton informed him of a situation in Illinois where a large number of people who attended a church service have since exhibited symptoms of COVID-19.

Due to the Illinois situation, DeWine asked those still holding church services to cease doing so.

“We’re not going to tell you not to do it, but it really is not a wise thing,” DeWine said.

DeWine suggested churches and religious entities use technology—such as livestreams, radio and television— to bring the services into the homes of their members rather than congregate together in a place and risk the spread of COVID-19, calling it “much too dangerous.”

"We made the decision when we made the order not to infringe on people's religious liberties but it just seems to me that's it's a huge mistake for any pastor, any church, to bring people together. Tomorrow or any other day," DeWine said. "This is a critical period of time and it's not just for the safety of the people in your congregations. Frankly, it's for the safety of their friends, their neighbors and total strangers. I just can't imagine anyone would want to take that risk."

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