Pritzker amends executive order marking religious gatherings as 'essential'

Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 10:55 PM CDT
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“When we started the day, Illinois was one of 10 states that entirely banned religious services,” said Thomas More Society VP and Senior Council Peter Breen. “At the end of this day, we file our lawsuits. The press goes after the governor, and now there are only nine states that ban religious services. Illinois no longer is in that shameful minority”

JB Pritzker makes a major change to his executive order after a lawsuit is filed by Beloved Church in Lena asking for it to be allowed to hold in-person religious services

When the lawsuit was filed Thursday morning, the planned executive order to be signed did not qualify religious gatherings as essential. But following Thursday's COVID-19 update, the governor signed his executive order which included a paragraph considering gatherings to practice religion as essential.

The order allows for the gathering of up to ten people as long as they comply with social distancing requirements. Religious organizations are now encouraged to use online or drive in services to protect the health and safety of their congregants.

"Today when we started the day we couldn't even drive on a church parking lot,” said Breen. “In fact you couldn't even leave your house to go to a church service. Now you can do that. And, in fact, the executive order now encourages people to have drive-in services; which is a great recommendation, I'm glad that they added it."