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Empty churches, online services mark Easter during coronavirus

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 11, 2020 - Duration: 01:10s

Empty churches, online services mark Easter during coronavirus

Political leaders and health experts urged Americans celebrating Good Friday and the Easter weekend to avoid church gatherings and observe the holidays at home to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

This report produced by Jonah Green.

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Empty churches, online services mark Easter during coronavirus

Political leaders and health experts urged Americans celebrating Good Friday and the Easter weekend to avoid church gatherings and observe the holidays at home to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY, SAYING: ”This cannot be a weekend to think we can let our foot off the gas.

We're not even close, folks.

We have to keep with it.” With more than 90% of the country under stay-at-home orders, the holiest weekend on the Christian calendar began with services livestreamed or broadcast to congregants watching from their living rooms. Many churches sat empty on Good Friday, when they would typically be overflowing with worshipers.

Still, a handful of holdout U.S. churches planned to go ahead with in-person Easter Sunday services, saying their rights to worship outweighed public health warnings.

(SOUNDBITE) (ENGLISH) REVEREND TONY SPELL, SAYING: "Everybody's fine.

They would rather come to church and worship like free people than live like prisoners in their homes for 22 days." The Reverend Tony Spell, pastor of the evangelical Life Tabernacle Church near Baton Rouge, Louisiana said, ”Satan and a virus will not stop us.” He expects more than 2,000 to gather at his megachurch on Sunday.

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