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Today Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to release guidelines for churches to open in California

California Church Virus Closures
Posted at 7:39 AM, May 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-25 10:40:39-04

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to release new guidelines on Monday for churches and other places of faith to open in California after weeks of being closed.

The governor said that state officials have been working with faith leaders to form California guidelines and will also review the guidelines set by the CDC.

The governor's announcement came after President Donald Trump called churches essential, saying he would "overrule" governors if they didn't open them.

Newsom said the guidelines for churches, mosques, and synagogues would provide direction on how to resume modified in-person services. Those guidelines, much like restaurants, will vary based on the size of the building.

Initially, churches were not allowed to open until California entered Phase 3 of the governor's reopening plan.

"We have been very aggressive in trying to put together guidelines that will do justice to people's health and their fundamental need and desire to practice their faith," Newsom said last week.

Meanwhile, health officials in Northern California say two church services that were held without authorization have been the sources of outbreaks.

Butte County officials say two of 180 people who attended a Mother's Day service tested positive for COVID-19. They say a recent spike in local cases indicates increased community spread.

Mendocino County public health officials say that six people who participated in a Mother's Day service contracted the virus, raising the county's number of cases to nine.

But Newsom said more responsibility is being placed onto California counties as the state continues to move into further stages of reopening. That includes being able to handle a surge of cases that could occur.

The governor said California is days away from making significant modifications to the stay-at-home order to allow for more businesses, including hair salons, to reopen.

*Original story by ABC30.