Coronavirus California: Some churches wait for Gov. Newsom's order to resume in-person services, others to reopen regardless

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Friday, President Donald Trump announced that churches are essential and ordered for houses of worship to reopen. California Governor Gavin Newsom said he is working on safety guidelines, but churches are still not allowed to reopen in the state.

"We were working with the faith community to advance the efforts to begin to put out guidelines processes and procedures to keep the public health of congregants," said Governor Gavin Newsom.

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Church in 2020 is all about virtual gatherings and Rev. Amos Brown says that's how it should continue to be, unless Governor Gavin Newsom and data says otherwise.

"The black church at its best will be about service to people and not just going through rituals in a building," said Rev. Brown, Pastor and president of the San Francisco branch of the NAACP.

Reverend Brown is refusing to follow the order of President Donald Trump of reopening houses of worship. Recent data shows that the African American community has been disproportionally affected by this virus.

"The black church will not be pimped by any politician to go back to a congregational setting when it is scientifically not safe," said Rev. Brown.

RELATED: 1,200 pastors demand Gov. Gavin Newsom reopen California churches by May 31

A heated argument that gained more steam after more than 1,200 pastors from across California sent a letter to Governor Newsom saying they plan to open churches May 31, regardless of state restrictions.

Supporting that letter is Celebration Church's pastor Larry Ihrig.

"The church started on the day of Pentecost and I think it's not just providential, but also divine that it will restart in California on Pentecost," said Pastor Ihrig.

Celebration Church is located in Livermore, where close to 200 people gather every Sunday. Pastor Ihrig says they bought boxes of face masks and are performing extra cleaning throughout the venue. He is planning to open on May 31st.

"The aisles are 6 ft. apart," said Pastor Ihrig. "We told people that if they arrive with their immediate family they can seat together and we ask everyone else to put three chairs in between them, which would be about 7ft."

San Francisco residents Ted and Hollie say it's time to gather.

"But if this is what's right for you to go to a dwelling that right should be there. If we can go to the grocery store then what is the difference," said Hollie.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Gov. Gavin Newsom's ban on in-person church gatherings. Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to make a concrete announcement on Monday.

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