SAN FRANCISCO—Last week the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, gave permission for places of worship to reopen again, as long as the right safety measures were followed. However, despite this allowance to reopen, many Bay Area churches are choosing to keep services online. 

“We will not have in-person worship on Sunday,” said the Very Rev. Malcolm Young of Grace Cathedral “Even if the governor and the mayor give us permission, we still do not know how to do this in a safe way yet, and safety is more important than gathering people together in a building.”

This decision comes after many people wondered whether Pentecost, the end of the 50 day Easter season, would be celebrated in person. Now it appears that it will be hosted the same way the Easter season began, with an online celebration.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed also supports this decision, announcing on Monday May 25 that the stay-home order was still in effect: “The stay-home order for the city and county of San Francisco remains in effect and does not allow houses of worship to host religious gatherings,” she stated during a public announcement on Monday.

The permission to re-open houses of worship has caused a divide across the country. The Trump Administration has deemed houses of worship as “essential”, while others are concerned with the potential health risks as a result of large groups congregating, especially for at-risk individuals who would attend in-person services.

Following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s directive, the California Department of Public Health released a statement that said : “It is strongly recommended that churches continue to provide remote services.”