Houses of worship should be allowed to have gatherings of more than 10 people in New York as long as social distancing rules can be followed, Assemblyman Billy Jones on Wednesday said. 

“Places of worship are often designed for large capacities, and therefore can easily social distance more than 10 people," Jones said. "I have heard from many religious organizations regarding proposals they have to safely reopen their doors to their congregations, who desperately are searching for spiritual guidance in these difficult times."

What You Need To Know

  • Assemblyman Billy Jones says the current guidance is too restrictive.

  • Jones believes houses of worship can conduct services safely with more than 10 people.

  • The current guidance restricts gatherings, but it was recently loosened.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo this month approved an executive order allowing religious services and gatherings of no more than 10 people in accordance with federal guidelines. Services can also be held at drive-in movie theaters and in parking lots. 

But Jones, a North Country lawmaker, believes proper precautions can be made to hold the services.

“Specifically, the Diocese of Ogdensburg has proposed having a percentage of the allowed full capacity of the building, requiring church attendees to wear masks and socially distance, and several other precautionary guidelines, instead of having a blanket 10 person policy," he said. "I believe approaches like these are more reasonable and effective than limiting services to 10 people or less.”