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House of worship attendance limit expected to be removed from stay at home order

Friday, May 29, 2020

* Dan Petrella and Jamie Munks at the Tribune

Facing a barrage of legal challenges from churches, Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to remove a provision limiting the number of people who can attend in-person religious services when he signs a new version of his statewide stay-at-home order on Friday.

The move comes as the state moves into phase three of Pritzker’s reopening plan, with a wider range of businesses opening their doors for the first time in more than two months. On Thursday, the Illinois Department of Public Health issued new guidelines for houses of worship, hours before the state responded to the U.S. Supreme Court in a lawsuit by two churches seeking to block Pritzker’s stay-at-home order.

Pritzker’s extended stay-at-home order, issued April 30 and set to expire after Friday, added religious services to the list of “essential” activities for which residents are permitted to leave their homes but mandated that they be limited to 10 or fewer people.

In its Supreme Court filing, the state argues that the churches’ request is moot because Pritzker “has announced that after that date religious gatherings will no longer be subject to mandatory restrictions.”

The attorney general’s filing is here. The guidelines are here.

* ABC7

“This is a total and complete victory for people of faith,” said Peter Breen, the vice president of the Thomas More Society, in a statement. “Illinois’ governor and his administration abused the COVID-19 pandemic to stomp on the religious liberty of the people of Illinois.”

Gov. Pritzker released the new guidelines during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

“We’re not providing restrictions,” he said. “We’re simply providing the best recommendations that we can for keeping people safe, so we hope the pastors will follow that guidance.” […]

The governor’s spokeswoman, Jordan Abudayyeh, warned that attending church is still a high-risk activity. She said the guidelines are new, but churches have always been allowed to do what they want.

But those who filed a lawsuit on the churches’ behalf see the new guidelines as a win for worshippers.

* Related…

* Pritzker lifts ban on Illinois worship services starting Friday

- Posted by Rich Miller        

90 Comments
  1. - Kippax Blue - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:30 am:

    Dear Lord–Save me from the “good” people.


  2. - very old soil - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:30 am:

    I do not think that this is a good idea.


  3. - Grandson of Man - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:31 am:

    “This is a total and complete victory for people of faith”

    Anyone whose faith is threatened by worshiping safely in a pandemic, away from congregate settings, doesn’t have much faith to begin with.


  4. - Pearly - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:31 am:

    I’m sure Breen and his ilk have already pre-rationalized how they won’t be personally responsible when people die unnecessarily from packing indoor churches, which is a statistical inevitability.


  5. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:32 am:

    Tragic.


  6. - Zim - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:36 am:

    I’d like to know where Breen will place the blame when the COVID-19 pandemic stomps on the health of people of faith who pack indoor houses of worship. God?


  7. - Glengarry - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:37 am:

    Are the murder hornets here yet?


  8. - bogey golfer - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:38 am:

    Mixed feelings. While I agree the need to prevent large congregations, I expect my mom to die soon. Trying to keep “the invite list” for the funeral mass to only 10 was getting to be difficult. This will at least free up, so that cousins could be driven to the service by her daughter and both attend.


  9. - Stritz - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:38 am:

    Has the Stay at Home been extended?


  10. - efudd - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:39 am:

    If you require a structure to have a relationship with God, you are missing the entire point of the teachings of Jesus.

    On a side note, someone want to get Breen some smelling salts. I’m afraid he’s got the vapors.


  11. - Mr. K. - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:39 am:

    Horrible idea.

    No one’s ‘worship’ is impacted if they can’t sit beside potentially infected people in a cramped space.

    We’ll see how this goes.


  12. - Stritz - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:39 am:

    Does anyone else feel every order will become “recommendations “ soon?


  13. - Nobody - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:40 am:

    If I remember right, the original reason for the EO’s was not to overwhelm our hospital systems.And most every hospital downstate and McCormick Center did not get overwhelmed.
    Since we do have a constitution, common sense, and know who the most vulnerable are; it should be each individuals right to practice safe freedom of religion with out government orders. Just in my humble opinion.


  14. - Bob Loblaw - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:40 am:

    Increasingly difficult to keep track of which laws you can just ignore and which ones you can’t.


  15. - Jocko - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:41 am:

    Never mind the fact that coronavirus hotspots continue to be traced back to religious gatherings.

    https://www.axios.com/church-coronavirus-easter-passover-ramadan-2e47a5a4-b9f9-4990-911f-07a68ee5f7e8.html


  16. - Jibba - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:43 am:

    Once you back down from science-based restrictions, no restrictions will apply because they will be arbitrary or seen that way. This is a sad deviation from the previous strategy that got us to be the only state satisfying federal guidelines for reopening. This was the battle to fight, not cave.


  17. - Bob Loblaw - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:43 am:

    ==it should be each individuals right==

    And if those individuals unknowingly transmit a deadly virus throughout my community prolonging a pandemic and endangering my vulnerable family members lives, well that’s just freedom


  18. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:44 am:

    === “This is a total and complete victory for people of faith,” said Peter Breen, the vice president of the Thomas More Society, in a statement. “Illinois’ governor and his administration abused the COVID-19 pandemic to stomp on the religious liberty of the people of Illinois.”===

    Blase Cardinal Cupich might disagree with you.

    The winner here is the collection plates, and the hypocrites.

    “When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites, for
    they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the
    corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Most
    certainly, I tell you, they have received their reward.“

    I’m not saying that Peter Breen is a hypocrite to faith and in prayer to God, I’m not saying that. I’m putting out there Matthew 6:5.

    Mr. Breen? He hopes his reward is his House seat back.

    I’m disappointed in the governor’s office. but it’s not my call, not my plan either.


  19. - Simply Sayin' - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:45 am:

    This was the correct move legally to do….you can’t allow other high risk businesses to reopen with reasonable restrictions, like gyms (and even no masks required during exercise), but forbid more than 10 people in a religious gathering without running afoul of the Free Exercise Clause. There is a reason there are a myriad of Democratic governors removing or reducing restrictions on religious gathers because of this (Minnesota, California, and now Illinois). The religious organizations that abuse this freedom and don’t require social distancing (e.g. % capacity, masks, no shared books, etc) will likely pay the health and social consequences.


  20. - MSIX - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:46 am:

    ==Since we do have a constitution, common sense…==

    We do have a constitution. I have yet to see widespread evidence of common sense.


  21. - efudd - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:46 am:

    Churches, by their design, have one main entrance/exit. Yes, I know, so does Walmart. However, unlike Walmart that’s usually where a number of the congregation congregate.
    Then everyone sits in one area, large or small, for an hour or more, depending on the church/faith.
    Doesn’t take a virologist to see the inherent risks in attending services during a pandemic.


  22. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:47 am:

    Good move by the Governor. Pick your battles. And this battle is not central to the war.

    I think it foolish and dangerous to attend mass religious services. Would rather see resources spent enforcing wearing masks in grocery stores. I can avoid church, not the grocery store.


  23. - Bob Loblaw - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:49 am:

    ==I can avoid church, not the grocery store.==

    The churchgoers also can’t avoid the grocery store, and now we can’t avoid them


  24. - Simply Sayin' - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:55 am:

    OW-
    You keep misapplying Matthew 6:5 (yesterday and today)….Its not about worship, its about those who are more about using their prayers as a show rather than sincere prayer. See the whole Matthew 6 (context matters). There are many people who would like to worship in their place of worship not because they want to put on a show, but because it is important to them. If their religious leaders do it in a responsible way, the risk will be minimized (and no more than a gym). There will always be leaders who don’t, like the one in Jackson County.


  25. - First Amdt Lawyer - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    I agree that this was a good move by the Governor.

    You can debate the wisdom of church gatherings til the cows come home, but after the Governor and Mayor Lightfoot announced on May 1 that they were shutting down hospitals and the McCormick place field hospital it has been difficult to argue with a straight face that Illinois had not already flattened the curve and passed peak-Covid. Given constitutional protections for religious institutions, the restrictions could not be maintained.


  26. - Hamlet's Ghost - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    ==I’m disappointed in the governor’s office. but it’s not my call, not my plan either.==

    The time and energy that would be expended in SCOTUS litigation and Twitter wars with POTUS can be better applied elsewhere.


  27. - Keyrock - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    I’m very disappointed in the Governor. Limits on numbers and singing seem to be, sadly, entirely justified as a neutral public health matter. Making them “recommendations” doesn’t just jeopardize the people who violate the recommendations — it also jeopardizes their families and communities.


  28. - walker - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 9:58 am:

    “”it should be each individuals right to practice safe freedom of religion”"

    Novbody: Does this include every individual’s right to practice unsafe freedom of religion.? To infect fellow worshipers? We’ll see if these pastors safely manage these gtherings.


  29. - Precinct Captain - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:00 am:

    How many future outbreaks and deaths will be tied back to churches? Hope these pastors and worshippers are ready for the blood on their hands.


  30. - Skeptic - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:02 am:

    “.. to reopen with reasonable restrictions, ” You just undermined your own argument. A gathering of 10 or less *is* a reasonable restriction.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:07 am:

    ===The time and energy that would be expended in SCOTUS litigation and Twitter wars with POTUS can be better applied elsewhere===

    Pandemics… and so “hypocrites” can be seen in the “corner of the streets” to pray… this is seen as smart?

    Not my call.

    === Its not about worship, its about those who are more about using their prayers as a show rather than sincere prayer. See the whole Matthew 6 (context matters). There are many people who would like to worship in their place of worship not because they want to put on a show, but because it is important to them.===

    No, I’m comfortable, quite comfortable with my application of Matthew 6:5… including your thought to it too.

    Standing and being seen, with others to pray… the Sermon on the Mount, it’s about others seen with others in prayer, signaling faith, not a relationship with God.

    It’s a reminder… as this is too…

    “But you, when you pray, enter into your inner
    chamber, and having shut your door, pray to
    your Father who is in secret, and your Father
    who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

    - Matthew 6:6

    This idea that groups need to be together to worship, it appears Jesus was reminding us in Matthew 6:6 what prayer is.

    With respect.


  32. - Simply Sayin' - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:11 am:

    –How many future outbreaks and deaths will be tied back to churches? Hope these pastors and worshippers are ready for the blood on their hands.–

    As of today, we have about 116,000 reported cases in Illinois and a total of 88 plus the new 39 cases in Jackson County are directly tied to religious gatherings. If they practice proper social distancing, they will have no more blood on their hand than any other business that chooses to reopen.


  33. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    === If they practice proper social distancing, they will have no more blood on their hand than any other business that chooses to reopen.===

    Is that II Corinthians… maybe Psalms…

    It’s not the Sermon on the Mount… with Jesus teaching about prayer or a relationship with god… and blood on our hands or not…

    I’ll keep looking. It has to be somewhere.

    I mean… it’s about this required need… to gather and worship.

    I hope the collection plates are plentiful.

    The shepherds could endanger the sheep…


  34. - illinifan - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    The reality is most churches will continue to follow distancing, crowd size limits and offering online services. These are the church leaders who care about the people who attend instead of the bottom line. We need to take a look at who is opening fully, and if it is a church we attend, it is time to change churches.


  35. - efudd - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    Simply Sayin-

    I’ve read Matthew. It’s about the hypocrisy of those with so-called faith.
    It warns against those who feel the need to be seen worshipping.
    Sort of like those who claim their freedom to practice religion is being “stomped” because they can’t congregate at a specific building.
    But hey, by all means, restrictions have been lifted.
    Go get you some.


  36. - Northsider - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:23 am:

    This is a total and complete victory for COVID-19.


  37. - Ducky LaMoore - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:25 am:

    Okay fine. My family and I will be choosing to worship at home for the time being. Social promiscuity could lead to infections. I hope these people are going to wear protection….


  38. - efudd - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:25 am:

    Simply Sayin-

    If you think you can practice social distancing in church, you’re either a fool or never been to a Baptist or Penecost service.
    Churches, by definition are social gathering points where physical proximity, hugging and shaking hands, are as much of the process as the sermon itself.
    You’re simply kidding yourself.


  39. - Chatham Resident - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:26 am:

    ==I can avoid church, not the grocery store.==

    And starting Monday, state workers (at least at Secretary of State) can’t avoid work either. While avoiding church but being unable to avoid grocery store. In the Capitol Complex and at Dirksen Parkway. I don’t know if other state offices are reopening. So we will be back to a crowded Capitol Complex on Monday for the first time since Mar. 16–but there will be precautions and social distancing occuring at work too.


  40. - thoughts matter - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:28 am:

    I think that the minute church gathering go under recommendations rather than orders, businesses and convention centers are going to say - why not us?

    The cat is out of the bag.The other animals are going to want out too. Someone’s going to sue to open with recommendations.

    Until we get treatments or vaccines, we will now be stuck with every man for himself philosophies.


  41. - Civil Commenter - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    When asked about the change in position, a spokesperson said “Today, I think, was basically an up. … I feel good about it.”


  42. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:31 am:

    Well, after this we may be able to settle the debate on natural selection. Maybe that’s a positive? /s


  43. - Chatham Resident - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:32 am:

    ==When asked about the change in position, a spokesperson said “Today, I think, was basically an up. … I feel good about it.”==

    Did that spokesperson once work for Blago?


  44. - Anonymous - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:35 am:

    “There are many people who would like to worship in their place of worship because they want to put on a show”

    Fixed it for you.

    Many of the “pillars of the church”, elders, deacons, trustees, the grand dames of the women’s group, and church staff, are there to put on a show, using their positions in the church to preen their hypocritical piety.


  45. - RuralKing - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:38 am:

    This is a win for the Constitution


  46. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:41 am:

    === This is a win for the Constitution===

    Huh.

    I thought this was a win for faith.

    “‘Well, then,’ Jesus said, ‘give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.’ His reply completely amazed them.“

    Worshipping the constitution to worship god, in a pandemic?

    That doesn’t to sound like a win


  47. - cermak_rd - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:53 am:

    A church in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse Germany had 40 people get infected at a church service. They have now traced 200 infections total to that service (so the remaining 160 are chain reaction infections). True many were housemates (spouses, children etc) of the church members, but others were not.


  48. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 10:58 am:

    ===…had 40 people get infected at a church service. They have now traced 200 infections total to that service (so the remaining 160 are chain reaction infections). True many were housemates (spouses, children etc) of the church members, but others were not.===

    How many doctors and nurses and hospital personnel are then needed to be in contact with the “chosen”, putting these folks in harms way… when not meeting may have prevented any or all these infections?

    This isn’t about “me” or “you”.

    It’s exactly about the needlessly putting others in harms way to treat or help… because of a “chosen” need.

    My concern is for those, if anything happens, who now will be “required” to see more victims and face more risk themselves.


  49. - Pundent - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:03 am:

    We’re not reopening church any more than we’re reopening the economy. We’re opening up teh spread of the virus. Responsible entities be they religious organizations or businesses will continue to proceed very cautiously. They will not put their long term reputations at risk for short term, limited benefits. People will return to church and patronize businesses when they feel it’s safe.


  50. - Henry Francis - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:07 am:

    You know things are bad when the Catholic Church, which doesn’t have a good history when it comes to protecting its flock, has closed its in-person services.


  51. - Nick Name - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:09 am:

    I would like to invite Peter Breen to perform an anatomical impossibility upon himself.


  52. - Nick Name - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:12 am:

    ===This is a win for the Constitution===

    So you have no king but Caesar?


  53. - Michael Westen - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:15 am:

    Pritzker was fixin’ to get schooled on the First Amendment by Justice Kavanaugh. He chose wisely. There was never any “science and data” that said only ten people could worship at the House of Hope, which holds ten thousand. It was absurd and laughable.


  54. - Back to the Future - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    Back is sticking with the website worship plan for a while.
    Not sure this is a defeat for Team Pritzker. They just acknowledged where this church/state issue was going to go in the courts as well as recognizing some religious folks were going to ignore the Pritzker view on this issue. The idea of local Public Safety officers chasing church ladies that they probably know around the block to write a ticket no judge will enforce is just not a a great priority.
    I think most church goers will wear masks, wash hands, wear gloves and be respectful of how dangerous this virus is.


  55. - Pundent - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:18 am:

    =There was never any “science and data” that said only ten people could worship at the House of Hope, which holds ten thousand. It was absurd and laughable.=

    I guess you’re not a fan of the CDC and IDPH. The Vatican and Archdiocese seem to disagree with you.


  56. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:19 am:

    === Pritzker was fixin’ to get schooled on the First Amendment by Justice Kavanaugh. He chose wisely.===

    If you’re worshipping the constitution so you can preen and worship… I dunno if you call that a win, more like the Hypocrites and Pharisees can ignore the Gospel of Matthew to have a collection plate… but… they will be seen… by man… that’s their reward.


  57. - In 630 - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:21 am:

    Definitely going to be seeing which churches have the most regard for their parishioners and communities the next couple weeks by who stays online and who rushes back


  58. - RNUG - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:36 am:

    I’ll be at home watching the service on FB Live.


  59. - Joe Bidenopolous - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:37 am:

    =I think most church goers will wear masks, wash hands, wear gloves and be respectful of how dangerous this virus is.=

    Well, I personally think that a very large percentage of new hot spots starting in 2-4 weeks will be associated with churches. And then those people will shop at stores, eat outdoors at restaurants, and generally spread a deadly disease even further, maybe to someone you love.


  60. - Louis G Atsaves - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    Good grief. I’ve been a proponent of social distancing, face masking, temperature taking, disinfectants since the start of this pandemic, but some of the comments here are beyond the pale. Now instead of reliance upon science, common sense and good social manners, we insist on shut downs for additional periods, labeling those as hypocrits, pharises or just plain stupid who wish to attend Church, or worrying more about the lack of collection plates? Sheesh!

    I’ve posted this before and I’ll repeat it. One size does not fit all. For houses of worship. Restaurants. Grocery Stores. The list is endless.

    My parish seats over 700 with cathedral like ceiling that is two and a half stories high, and windows that open. With safety measures, it can seat around 100. Seating can be staggered and spread out using the 6 feet measure. The 10 person figure is about an arbitrary number as one can get here. Using science or even guidance, even Mr. Obvious Man can scientifically and logically conclude that my parish building can safely accommodate more than 10 individuals.

    Add the separate auditorium in that building that seats 800 in normal times, a gymnasium that can seat around 100 in normal times, and the old open space that once was the auditorium that can seat another 200? And those extra spaces were used during special holidays or Holy Week to handle excess crowds. Not everyone plans to rush back into Church, unlike a Wisconsin or Ozarks tavern as a show of defiance.

    The Governor lost the messaging with his stubborn demands of 10 or less. Not all churches, temples, mosques or synagogues are storefronts. One size does not fit all, even with science, and even when doctors treat patients for the same symptoms or illnesses. Our parish is near several Roman Catholic parishes that are even larger. They all exist in the city.

    For some, religion is essential. Respect that.


  61. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    === For some, religion is essential. Respect that.===

    Tell that to Jesus…

    “But you, when you pray, enter into your inner
    chamber, and having shut your door, pray to
    your Father who is in secret, and your Father
    who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

    - Matthew 6:6

    “Man” will see… the collection plates will fill…

    Essentially… the relationship with god… is one with him, not requiring any group.

    That’s respecting religion… not forcing this idea that the hypocrites and pharisees see others.

    With… respect.


  62. - JS Mill - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:44 am:

    =Since we do have a constitution, common sense, and know who the most vulnerable are; it should be each individuals right to practice safe freedom of religion with out government orders. =

    You do not understand the Constitution and civil rights.

    But good news, if infections are traced back to churches they are now open to civil suits.


  63. - Northsider - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    ==Pritzker was fixin’ to get schooled on the First Amendment by Justice Kavanaugh.==

    Sure, if First Amendment was Squee’s home brewed lager.


  64. - Amalia - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    Please stop claiming something in the name of “people of faith.” you do not represent me, or my faith. what you are encouraging will result in deaths. Thought you were “pro life.”


  65. - Demoralized - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:47 am:

    ==For some, religion is essential. Respect that.==

    It’s never been disrespected and saying it has is just ridiculous. Contrary to the hysteria exhibited by some in the religious community this has never been an attack on religion. It was a reasonable response to a pandemic. I still don’t think it’s a good idea to let churches open up right now, but whatever. The decision has been made.

    But please stop with the whole “respect that” nonsense. It’s never been disrespected.


  66. - Honeybear - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:51 am:

    So glad I’m a Unitarian Universalist.
    From the Living Tradition we share:
    “Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit.”
    Amen and amen folks.
    My little church in Alton is staying online till its good and safe.
    I care deeply about the many vulnerable elderly members of my congregation.
    We’ve survived 189 years, we can go a bit longer


  67. - VerySmallRocks - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:52 am:

    We’ll be revisiting this in 1-2 weeks, when infections, hospitalizations and deaths spike, and the political theocrats do their Pontius Pilate imitation.


  68. - A Guy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 11:54 am:

    == She said the guidelines are new, but churches have always been allowed to do what they want.==

    I don’t think so.


  69. - Arock - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:07 pm:

    Common sense lacking in many comments. In my home town we have churches that hold anywhere from 50 to 600 people but we are going to have the same guideline of 10 people for every church? My church will easily hold a couple hundred so with social distancing we are talking about 30-40 people at each service. Mask are required when entering and leaving and you are more than welcome to wear your mask the entire time. Gathering allowed only outside with social distancing recommendations before and after service. Not using Hymnals or Bibles in the pew, entire service on handouts. Communion given in pew with individual cups. We will have numerous services to help keep numbers down and you must reserve a service to attend. Pews wiped down between each service.


  70. - Pundent - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:07 pm:

    =For some, religion is essential. Respect that.=

    We probably all have a different definition of what we personally find essential. However, my desire to engage in my own essential activity doesn’t outweigh the responsibility I carry in ensuring that I’m not endangering the lives of others. Your religious freedom does not give you license to put your community at risk through reckless behavior. The church can choose to accept or ignore these guidelines at their peril. For some the ability to file a lawsuit to punish reckless decision makers is considered essential.


  71. - A Guy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:10 pm:

    The guidelines in all of these diocese, agreed to and being enforced by the bishops is “start with 10 for private prayer, and when authorized, move up to 50 for mass”. The smallest Catholic churches can accommodate hundreds. Mine has a capacity of 600. 50 is very distanced with very high ceilings. Sanitizing stations all over the church. I believe houses of worship should be treated the same as other similar size entities. Safety is vital in every place that reopens.


  72. - cermak_rd - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    Louis G Atsaves,

    Respect that. Well, no that is not constitutionally required. The churches now have the right to meet however they wish which is all the Constitution requires. The people still have the right to their freedom of expression and if that is that churches that are wantonly opening without any precautions (hopefully a minimal amount) are doing so recklessly. And it is a fact in this pandemic that many outbreaks have been traced back to collective worship services.


  73. - the Patriot - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:24 pm:

    The governor was going to lose so rather than create precedent you back off. He went as far as he could. With a virus that was basically unstudied until 8 months ago and even the CDC changes analysis on weekly, you do not have the data to pass a strict scrutiny constitutional argument.

    Part of what makes the virus so dangerous is we know so little, but that also means you do not have scientifically proven evidence for court standards.


  74. - Stu - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    ===As of today, we have about 116,000 reported cases in Illinois and a total of 88 plus the new 39 cases in Jackson County are directly tied to religious gatherings===

    Because almost all the churches were following the recommendations and staying closed. We’ll save this statement and revisit in 14-21 days.


  75. - Glenn - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:31 pm:

    Should be interesting to see how contact tracing (science)measures up against religious healing.

    The church might be shown to be doing the devil’s (COVID-19) work.

    Of course, then again it might not by some “miracle”.

    I would hope the churches would bring the sick under their care, just to prove they’re not science haters.

    But science has a history of being punished by religion through the ages.


  76. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:33 pm:

    === Part of what makes the virus so dangerous===

    If it’s so dangerous… why this need to possibly infect people needlessly.

    We do know social distancing works.

    Choosing to worship to be seen worshipping seems like a dangerous thing too.

    Part of what makes the virus so dangerous… is being near Covidiots… or choosing to put others at high risk.

    That … is part of what makes the virus so dangerous.


  77. - Pundent - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:34 pm:

    =Now instead of reliance upon science, common sense and good social manners=

    Well since you brought it up. Here’s an article (written by a doctor) that explains the science, common sense, and good social manners that support why church gatherings (even small ones) can be so deadly. Here’s a choice quote:

    “Observed infection rates can be astronomical. In Washington State, a choir practice of 60 individuals who practiced social distancing resulted in 45 infections, 3 hospitalizations and 2 deaths.”

    www.infectioncontroltoday.com/covid-19/churches-could-be-deadliest-places-covid-19-pandemic


  78. - Blue Dog Dem - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:35 pm:

    I just took a drive thru downtown Columbia, Illinois on my way home. The stay at home orders must be over.


  79. - Esq - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:43 pm:

    It doesn’t matter if Pritzker settles with this particular church. There are several of these cases from across the country. SCOTUS is going to weigh in on at least one of them, and that should largely resolve it for everyone.


  80. - Jibba - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    ===you do not have scientifically proven evidence for court standards===

    True, but I doubt the standard for public health is the same as a court. I suspect the EO only needs sensible advice from experts, not proof beyond a shadow of a doubt. However, I agree that numerical limits for services are not sensible. Limits for everything need to be based on a distance limit that considers the activity in question (singing, exercise, etc. needs to be more) and time spent.


  81. - Skeptic - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 1:25 pm:

    ” I agree that numerical limits for services are not sensible.” Maybe not, but they are simple. What some of your are suggesting is basing capacity on a formula involving area, volume, windows, HVAC, Number of seats . . . Pretty soon you’ll have to “. . .subtract line 37 from line 36 and multiply by the Usage Factor, and if the answer is less than one you can open except when . . .”


  82. - Pundent - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 1:45 pm:

    The question of what is sensible or common sense depends entirely on who you ask. If we take Pritzker at his word that his decisions have been driven by the input of scientists and health professionals, then any restrictions and limitations have been informed by common sense. That is the common sense of scientists and health professionals. Now maybe that conflicts with what seems sensible to you, but it doesn’t mean much if your operating entirely off of opinion.


  83. - Michael Westen - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 1:58 pm:

    “If you’re worshipping the constitution so you can preen and worship…”

    Fortunately you aren’t in charge of telling people how they can worship. Neither is the Governor. The First Amendment says that. In words and everything. The threat of learning that from Justice Kavanaugh caused him to cave completely. It is a good thing when an elected official corrects a wrong decision.


  84. - RNUG - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:02 pm:

    == I think most church goers will wear masks, wash hands, wear gloves and be respectful of how dangerous this virus is. ==

    I will take exception to the wear gloves part. People don’t know the proper protocol. Better to just wash or sanitize hands after every contact with an object that isn’t your own.

    I will also note that, where possible, learn to open a door at a business by using your hip and backing through it; that avoids anything getting on your hands that could transfer to your face. Since I use a cane, I learned to do that years ago. I realize a lot of older churches don’t have doors that swing both ways; for those I suggest propping an entry door open as required until service starts … since a lot of church’s lock their doors during service as a security measure.


  85. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:03 pm:

    === Fortunately you aren’t in charge of telling people how they can worship. Neither is the Governor.===

    Nope. I’ve already made that clear, lol… good on you to pick that up.

    It’s rather comical that this idea that the constitution to preen and be exhalted by man is needed in a pandemic, because Matthew 6:6 is wrong… constitutionally…

    I can’t help those who think the Bible is wrong in worship either.

    :)


  86. - Jibba - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 2:04 pm:

    Skeptic, I’m thinking nothing of the sort. Six feet may be enough for outdoors, but it is likely insufficient for people singing or exercising indoors for an hour based on cases already seen. Find a distance for this and apply it. Use masks. The end.


  87. - Teacher Lady - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    “This is a total and complete victory for people of faith,”
    Then why does it feel like what they really wanted was a defeat against the governor? The churches were used as the weapon to stick it to Pritzker. Sadly, they were happy to be used. Prayers for their parishioners, who will now be infected in greater numbers. “as for me and my house…” we will stay at home a while longer.


  88. - Huh? - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 4:10 pm:

    John 11:35 “Jesus wept”

    This will be the reaction of a deity when the “religious” covid19 hot spot outbreaks occur.


  89. - Huh? - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 4:22 pm:

    “This will be a pyrrhic victory for hypocritical people claiming religious freedom.”

    Fixed it for ya.

    Love your neighbor as yourself, come on in, we’re having a covid19 party. God will take care of you. Don’t care if you die as long as you send me your stimulus check, I need a new lear jet.


  90. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, May 29, 20 @ 4:26 pm:

    === It is a good thing when an elected official corrects a wrong decision.===
    And a bad thing when an elected official corrects a right decision. So now these churchgoers are are going to breath their fetid Covid-19 breath on me at the grocery store?


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