HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB)–A crowd of people closely gathered together, cheered and took pictures while watching state and religious leaders give speeches outside the Old Time Baptist Church in Hamburg. They’re calling on Governor Andrew Cuomo to officially open up churches now.
“Other organizations are freely open, I see it all the time, the bike store, the little bike store in the community, the little olive oil store, whatever, where they have on a rainy day you might get two or three people,” said Assemblyman Dave DiPietro. ” They know how to social distance, we’re adults we can do that. Yet you can go into Walmart, which I have, and Lowes and Home Depot and Target, and Wegmans and Tops. I was in Tops and there were 15 people in one aisle.”
As the state slowly reopens, Governor Andrew Cuomo has pegged churches and other religious houses of worship to fully open in phase four. Church leaders say they would like to be open sooner. In fact, they had a church service last week.
‘We had 161 here last week, this past Sunday and it was wonderful everyone was socially distant. We gave masks out to those that needed them. All of our ushers and all of our workers have masks and gloves. We didn’t pass the offering plate,” said Louis Guadagno.
Church leaders say they will be physically open for church service this Sunday at half capacity– the auditorium of the church can seat 400 and they say they will not exceed half capacity this Sunday.
Angelica Morrison is an award-winning reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.