Photo Credit: ABC7News screengrab via YouTube
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio briefs on COVID-19 coronavirus, March 24 2020

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio warned the Jewish community, again, not to hold services in the synagogues. Failing cooperation, he said, permanent closure would be the next step.

Although many shuls have closed in deference to the city’s COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions, some have not and instead continued to hold minyanim despite the city’s orders to close in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

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“We’ve had extraordinary, across the board rabbinical support from all the different elements of the Jewish community and the same is true of other faiths as well, de Blasio said at his daily news briefing on Friday.

“A small number religious communities, specific churches, specific synagogues are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it’s so widespread. So I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend, if you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church, and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services.

“I don’t say that with any joy. It’s the last thing I would like to do, because I understand how important people’s faiths are to them, and we need our faith in this time of crisis. But we do not need gatherings that will endanger people.”

“Everyone has been instructed that if they see worship services going on, they will go to the officials of that congregation and inform them that they need to stop the services and disperse.

“If that does not happen, they will take additional action up to the point of fines and potentially closing the building permanently. Again, that will begin this weekend.

“Again, I am sorry I have to tell you this, but anyone who’s hearing this, take this seriously. You’ve been warned, you need to stop services, help people practice their faith in different ways.”

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