CHICAGO (CBS) — Some South Side religious leaders are praising President Donald Trump’s call to allow churches to reopen and say they want Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot to move past politics and do the same.
Pervis Thomas, pastor of New Canaan Land Missionary Baptist Church in Englewood, said he plans to hold services Sunday with proper precautions.
“We are all going to social distance,” said Thomas. “We are going to sanitize when we can. We have masks already prepared. We are not going to do no singing. The choir is is not going to do no singing. Elderly is going to stay home. Sick, those that are compromised, those that are diabetics, those with hypertension are going to stay home. And we just want to just worship freely.”
His group wants the number of worshipers allowed to increase to 50. Under the governor’s Restore Illinois plan, indoor religious activities currently are limited to 10 people. Outdoor and drive through services are set for Phase 3, which starts next Friday.
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Lightfoot is asking religious leaders to hold off on services until she starts reopening the city next month. The city has fined Metro Praise International Church in Belmont Cragin $500 for defying the stay-at-home order, but its pastor says his doors will be open to dozens again Sunday. He says he will “follow the president” and is ready to face another fine and that the mayor and governor need to be “ready for a fight.”
The Chicago Police Department has released a statement saying officers “will continue to monitor large gatherings in their districts.”