New York opens the door to small religious gatherings

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

A man wearing a protective mask during the coronavirus pandemic crosses Amsterdam Avenue Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK – New York will allow religious gatherings of up to 10 people as hospitalization rates continue to decline. More tests and outreach efforts are planned for hard-hit New York City neighborhoods. The Metropolitan Museum of Art could reopen its doors in mid-August.

Coronavirus developments in New York:

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RELIGIOUS SERVICES

New York will allow small religious gatherings starting Thursday as the state gradually loosens pandemic restrictions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Religious gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed statewide as long as participants wear masks and practice social distancing. The state also is allowing drive-in and parking lot services. Weddings will count as religious ceremonies.

The state will work with an Interfaith Advisory Council to discuss proposals to safely bring back religious services. The council consists of dozens of religious leaders, including Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts.

“I understand their desire to get to religious ceremonies as soon as possible. As a former altar boy, I get it,” Cuomo said. “But we need to find out how to do it and do it safely and do it smartly. The last thing we want to do is have a religious ceremony that winds up having more people infected.”