Spain Opens Churches, Lets Children Play for the First Time in Six Weeks

‘We believe it’s the time to have a measured reopening…’

 1

AP Photo: Barcelona, Spain.

(Liberty Headlines) Spain let children go outside and play Sunday for the first time in six weeks as European countries methodically worked to ease their lockdowns and reopen their economies.

Elsewhere around the world, China’s state-run media said that hospitals in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the disaster, no longer have any COVID-19 patients, after a crisis in which the city recorded nearly 3,900 deaths.

And British Prime Minister Boris Johnson planned to be back at his desk Monday at 10 Downing St. after a bout with the coronavirus that put him in intensive care.

While governors in states like hard-hit New York and Michigan are keeping stay-at-home restrictions in place until at least mid-May, their counterparts in places such as Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska are allowing certain businesses to reopen.

.

And churches in Montana began holding in-person services again Sunday.

In Spain, where the crisis is also easing, the streets echoed again with children’s shrieks of joy and the clatter of bicycles after youngsters under 14 were allowed out of their homes with one parent for up to an hour of play.

“This is wonderful! I can’t believe it has been six weeks,” Susana Sabaté, a mother of 3-year-old twin boys, said in Barcelona. “My boys are very active. Today when they saw the front door and we gave them their scooters, they were thrilled.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will present a detailed plan Tuesday for the “de-escalation” of Spain’s lockdown, saying: “Maximum caution will be our guideline for the rollback.”

His French counterpart likewise said he will unveil a “national deconfinement strategy” on the same day.

In the U.S., where President Donald Trump has repeatedly pushed to reopen the country for business and a split has opened among the states along often partisan lines, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, a Republican, told Fox News that with hospitalizations dropping in his state, he will reopen churches and restaurant dining on Friday, with social-distancing guidelines in place.

“We believe it’s the time to have a measured reopening,” he said.

But Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, told ABC that her state is not ready and needs more robust testing, community tracing and a plan for isolating people who get sick with COVID-19.

“We’ve got to be nimble and we have to follow the science and be really smart about how we reengage,” she said, “because no one — no one, even if you’re a protester or you’re the sitting governor or you’re on another side of the issue — we know that no one wants a second wave.”

She added: “It would be devastating for the health of our people and for our economy.”

In Montana, some churchgoers returned to Sunday services as a general stay-at-home order expired.

At Christ the King Lutheran Church in Billings, every other pew was kept empty.

Roughly 100 people streamed into St. Anthony Catholic Church in Laurel, where ushers tried to keep families separate from one another and large bottles of hand sanitizer were at the sanctuary’s entrance.

“It’s like being given life again,” said church member Jack Auzqui. He said being unable to attend for the past month had been spiritually difficult for him and his wife.

Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, in announcing the opening of several businesses last week, said religious services were allowed as long as strict social-distancing protocols were followed.

But leaders of various denomination said they would keep their buildings shuttered for the time being.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.