Assemblyman Brian Manktelow (R,C,I,Ref-Lyons) has been joined by some of his Assembly colleagues in calling upon the governor to reopen religious institutions as soon as possible to help aid the mental and spiritual health of New Yorkers. Due to the New York State on PAUSE executive order, churches, temples and other religious institutions have been ordered to close their doors for nearly two months now. With the release of the four reopening phases proposed by Gov. Cuomo, it is not clear which category religious institutions fall under.
COVID-19 has caused a mental and spiritual crisis for many in our nation and worldwide, said Manktelow. In recent weeks we have begun to see the effects the lockdown has had on many. While the Pause order is important as it helps protect those most vulnerable and is clearly slowing down the spread, we do need to do something to help New Yorkers get through this. I seriously hope the governor considers having religious institutions open sooner rather than later, not only to help New Yorkers but the institutions themselves. Many of these facilities rely heavily on donations and offerings, and while some people have continued to give virtually, the age-old phrase out of sight, out of mind has begun to take affect. This is taking a disastrous toll on religious institutions, and if they are left to open more towards the end of the re-opening plan, they might not be able to.
Manktelow has written a letter to the governor, having many of his Assembly colleagues sign on to join him in this request.
Recognizing that the lockdown has helped slow down the virus, we do encourage these facilities to follow proper social distancing protocols, including wearing masks, refraining from physical contact, staying 6-feet away from one another and staying home should you feel sick, said Manktelow.