By Jonathan Levin and Keith Naughton
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a stay-at-home order after weeks of rejecting calls for such a measure. But like other mandates ranging from New York to New Mexico, it ensures that Floridians can still attend religious services.
The carve-out for houses of worship comes as authorities across the U.S. have cited religious leaders for violating social-distancing guidelines meant to blunt the spread of the new coronavirus. One pastor was charged in Hillsborough County, Florida, which encompasses Tampa, for defying a county stay-at-home order.
“This virus doesn’t discriminate — it endangers people whether they gather for religious or secular purposes, and it puts entire communities at risk,” Rachel Laser, president and chief executive officer of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said in a statement Tuesday.
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