Trump, CDC reclassify places of worship as 'essential,' ordered churches be allowed to stay open

Trump holds press briefing as CDC unveils guidance for reopening churches
Posted at 10:48 AM, May 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-22 17:36:24-04

President Donald Trump held a previously unscheduled press briefing at the White House on Friday to unveil Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on reopening places of worship, classifying them as "essential."

Trump called on governors to open all places of worship "right now, this weekend." He added that if state governors chose to keep places of worship closed, he would "override them."

Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator for the White House's coronavirus task force, reiterated that it is possible for people to social distance properly in places of worship. She also said that religious leaders should remain in contact with local health officials when setting policy.

When asked directly if she thought it was safe to reopen churches and other places of worship, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said it is safe if those institutions follow CDC guidelines.

Earlier this week, the CDC released guidance on reopening child care centers, schools, restaurants, mass transit systems and other businesses. Churches were not part of that guidance.

The CDC's release came as all states had already begun the process of reopening their economies.

Earlier this month, The Associated Press reported that top Trump administration officials had shelved documents that offered advice on reopening the country, saying that the recommendations wouldn't "see the light of day."

Coronavirus Testing Sites - Kern County

View Testing Locations Map

State-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free, but if have insurance they will bill
  • No screening criteria

Kern County Fairgrounds
1142 South P Street, Building 4, Access Gate 27
Mojave Veterans Hall
15580 O Street, Mojave
Arvin Public Health
204 S Hill Street, Arvin
5th District Drive-Thru at The Prado Senior Center
2101 Ridge Road

County-Provided Sites
  • Must have an appointment
  • Free
  • No screening criteria
  • Operating with existing provider

Oildale - Good Samaritan Hospital
901 Olive Drive, Bakersfield
  • For Registration call (661) 215-7725
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8 am - 8 pm, Saturday 8 am - 12 pm

Ridgecrest - Ridgecrest Regional Hospital
1081 N. China Lake Blvd, Ridgecrest
  • For Registration: Text the word "testing" to 833-774-4968 Or Call 866-774-9984
  • Drive-Thru Only
  • Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 am - 10:30 am

Delano - Delano Regional Medical Center
1401 Garces Hwy, Delano
  • No Drive-Thru option
  • Hours: Monday – Friday 9 am – 5 pm

Kern River Valley - Kern Valley Hospital (Coming Soon)
6412 Laurel Ave, Mt Mesa
  • No Drive-Thru option

Tehachapi - Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley
1100 Magellan Dr 93561