"President Trump's demand that governors allow all houses of worship to reopen this weekend is irresponsible and reckless - and tragically, will lead to more deaths", she said. He added that "these are places that hold our society together and keep our people united".
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention promptly issued new guidance to assist faith institutions in their reopening. The guidance released Friday has no discussion of a phased-in opening.
Some of the recommendations from the earlier version were nonetheless retained in some form, including a suggestion that religious leaders "consider suspending or at least decreasing use of choir/musical ensembles and congregant singing, chanting or reciting during services".
Religious events helped spread the virus early in the pandemic, and resuming gatherings of the faithful is an especially thorny issue. On April 28 and 29, officials at the White House and U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) talked with four Catholic bishops who had made a decision to resume public Masses in their respective dioceses.
"I call upon governors to allow places of worship to open now".
He threatened to override the governors if they do not allow the churches to re-open.
In the listening session with African-American leaders in the afternoon, Trump repeated his desire to have churches reopened swiftly. Our church inspires, assists, and empowers people.
"Maybe they can't go this week", Birx said.
A church leader said the community had complied with all hygiene rules but has canceled all gatherings and is now holding services online. They called the restrictions unconstitutional and unfair since restaurants, malls and bars were allowed limited reopening. "In America? The nation was founded on the very principle of free exercise of religion", she said.
Still, the president's comments come less than six months ahead of a reelection bid in which turnout from his conservative evangelical Christian base could prove critical. "If there's any question, they're going to have to call me - but they're not going to be successful in that call".
Ms Nessel, a Democrat, said Mr Trump had a "legal and moral responsibility" to wear a mask, and had sent a "terrible message" by not doing so. With the infection rate declining in many areas, there is pressure to begin reopening.
'Please, as you go out this weekend, understand that you can be outside and you can play golf, and you can play tennis with marked balls, ' she said. I love how our church serves the community.