Around New England

Texas Governor’s Order Limiting Public Gatherings Doesn’t Apply To Churches – Unlike in Massachusetts

March 23, 2020

Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order limiting public gatherings in the state does not apply to churches.

The city of Midland, Texas posted a question-and-answer document about the governor’s orders on its coronavirus landing page that has been picked up by several media outlets in the state.

City officials in Midland asked the governor’s office certain questions and got back answers. One of the questions asks “Do the Governor’s Executive Orders apply to churches and houses of worship?”

The answer, in many more words, is no.

“Churches and houses of worship are not social gatherings,” the document states. “Places of worship are especially important in times of great community and personal need.”

Churches, it states, “are capable of engaging in social distancing and the recommended hygiene and sanitizing standards.”

Here’s an image of an excerpt from the document:

 

The document is not available on the Texas governor’s press office web site.

But it has been reported on by the Midland Reporter-Telegram and KTXS-TV Channel 20 in Sweetwater, Texas, among others.

In Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker’s executive order limiting public gatherings to 25 does apply to churches.

Many churches and other houses of worship have moved religious services online, allowing only a handful of people to attend in person.

The death rate from coronavirus in Massachusetts as of 7 p.m. Monday, March 23 is steeper than in Texas — 9 in Massachusetts, as opposed to 8 in Texas, which has more than four times the population of Massachusetts.

 

 

 

 

 

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