Dear Governor Brown,
To be proportionally fair in the opening of our state, we need to ensure that we not only include restaurants, retail, childcare, personal services, transit, and outdoor recreation in discussions around reopening, but other parts of our community-building success, like churches and religious places of worship.
Unlike the Federal Guidelines, the Oregon Recovery Plan does not include religious places of worship in Phase One. This seems to be an oversight, as these institutions provide resources to those struggling, whether its depression caused by being alone, anxiety from fear of how one will pay their bills due to layoffs, or just a sense of community to help navigate through COVID19 crisis.
Please consider adjusting your framework to allow the religious leaders of our state to participate in reopening conversations so that they, too, can safely open their doors to their communities and once again begin providing services. Some religious leaders, like Bishop Liam Cary, have gone to great lengths to ask each of his pastors to draw up plans to practice social distancing in their churches.
Oregonians have proven that they are morally responsible by staying home and have sacrificed much to flatten the curve. This shows their responsibility towards their neighbors and the ability to follow guidelines to protect one another. Therefore, we have a moral obligation towards Oregonians to include places of worship in the recovery guidelines to not only provide resources to those that need it but build stronger communities during our economic recovery.
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