De Blasio Threatens to Permanently Close Churches, Synagogues That Continue to Meet

‘If you’re under 50 and you’re healthy, which is most New Yorkers, there’s very little threat here…’

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(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio threatened to permanently close churches, synagogues or other houses of worship that continue to defy the city’s shelter-in-place order.

Speaking to the city’s residents during a daily press briefing last week, de Blasio warned that religious centers that do not obey the city’s instructions could face long-term repercussions.

“A small number of religious communities, specific churches and specific synagogues, are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it’s so widespread,” de Blasio said.

“I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services.”

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He added that if shutting down the service failed to settle it, the city would consider additional actions, including fines and permanent building closures.

De Blasio’s threat is blatantly unconstitutional, but unsurprising given the Democratic mayor’s inability to effectively lead the city’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Just two weeks ago, de Blasio was encouraging New York City’s residents to go about life as usual.

“If you’re under 50 and you’re healthy, which is most New Yorkers, there’s very little threat here,” de Blasio told MSNBC on March 10, just one day before President Trump suspended travel to and from Europe.

“This disease, even if you were to get it, basically acts like a common cold or flu,” de Blasio insisted.

As of Monday, nearly 800 people had since died from COVID-19 in New York City alone.

Churches across the country have protested state governments’ social distancing orders. One church in Louisiana met on Sunday in direct defiance of Gov. John Bel Edwards‘s demands.

The decision to meet was “grossly irresponsible,” Edwards said. The churchgoers “take the time and attention of first responders and make it much more likely that this disease will continue to spread,” he said.