Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 26, 2020 / 13:00 pm
A federal judge on Friday ruled that New York must allow indoor and outdoor religious services in the same way it would allow mass outdoor protests, or indoor shopping malls.
Judge Gary Sharpe of the Northern District of New York said that the state cannot limit outdoor religious services during the pandemic, provided that attendees follow social distancing requirements. For indoor services, he said, the state has to make the same allowances for churches as it does for other businesses.
The judgement follows a lawsuit filed on behalf of several different religious groups by the Thomas More Society. No Catholic diocese or parish was party to the suit.
The New York State Catholic Conference, which represents the bishops of the state, told CNA on Friday that churches would probably continue to follow state health guidelines for reopening, even though they are no longer bound by law to do so.