Pence urges churches not to worship in groups larger than 10 people

WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence is encouraging fellow faith followers not to attend services larger than 10 people to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“We really believe this is a time when people should avoid gatherings of more than 10 people,” Pence told ABC’s “Nightline” in an interview scheduled to air Wednesday evening. “And, and so, we continue to urge churches around America to heed to that.”

Pence also said that he, his wife, Karen, and President Donald Trump have “been enjoying worship services online,” according to ABC.

His admonition came on the same day he said on CNN that Italy “may be the most comparable area to the United States” in terms of coronavirus mortality rates and cases. 

“The American people need to know that our future is in their hands,” Pence said in another interview on Fox News.

Vice President Mike Pence talks on the warehouse intercom to employees at a Walmart Distribution Center along with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Wednesday April 1, 2020, in Gordonsville, Va.

Pence, who calls his Christian faith “the most important thing in my life,” tries to start every day by reading the Bible and praying with his wife.

The Pence’s oldest daughter, Charlotte, recently appeared on Fox Nation’s “Bible Study: Messages of Hope,” to share a favorite Bible verse that she hopes will help people cope with the pandemic.

The pastor of a megachurch in Florida was arrested this week after defying county and state orders requiring that gatherings, including those held by faith-based groups, be smaller than 10 people. 

At least a half-dozen states have some type of exemption for faith gatherings, according to the Associated Press.

Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas and a major evangelical supporter of Trump, initially chose to keep an in-person service option by holding services of less than 500 people.

He later reversed course and encouraged followers to participate online.

Trump suggested last month that Americans could return to normal life on Easter, and fill all the churches.

But he announced Sunday that the White House would be extending its social distancing guidelines through April 30.

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