Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced that beginning Thursday, religious gatherings of no more than 10 people will be allowed statewide, where strict social distancing measures are enforced and all participants wear masks. Additionally, drive-in and parking lot services will also be allowed beginning Thursday.
Cuomo said: “We’re working with religious institutions. Right now they can have up to 10 people with strict social distancing guidelines at religious gatherings. We ask them to consider drive-in and parking lot services for religious ceremonies. We’re going to be working with our interfaith advisory council. Our interfaith advisory council has representative of the religious community across the state, all different religions. I understand their desire to get back to religious ceremonies as soon as possible. As former altar boy, I get it. I think even at this time of stress and when people are so anxious and so confused, I think those religious ceremonies can be very comforting. But we need to find out how to do it, and do it safely, and do it smartly. The last thing we want to do is have a religious ceremony that winds up having more people infected. A religious ceremony by definition is a gathering, right. It’s a large number of people coming together. We know from New Rochelle, Westchester the first hot spot, that religious ceremonies can be very dangerous. So, we all want to do the same thing, the question is how do we do it, and how do we do it smartly and efficiently. I will be talking with members of the religious community on doing just that and I’m sure we can come up with a way that does it, but does it intelligently.