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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urges caution while celebrating religious holidays this week

Amid religious holidays this week, Ohio will not interfere with first amendment rights to practice religion

As the Catholic Church kicked off Holy Week this week and with Judaism celebrating Passover on Wednesday and into Thursday, religious holidays have found themselves intersecting with physical distancing issues. 

Both Easter and Passover are times of celebration. Each marks a major holiday for their respective religion as Catholics rejoice at the resurrection of Jesus Christ and Judaism commemorates the emancipation of Jews from slavery in Egypt. 

Yet, amid concerns regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), a moral question of how to celebrate together has been called into question.

After receiving notice of some churches in Ohio continuing to congregate, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine bluntly stated, "We are not going to interfere with your first amendment rights to practice your religion."

But while the first amendment has prevented churches from being included in Ohio's current stay-at-home order, DeWine pleaded that those celebrating the holidays exercise caution and safety practices.

"I don't know any religion that wants you to seriously danger others," he said.

As of Wednesday, Ohio has had 5,148 confirmed coronavirus cases, 1,485 of which have resulted in hospitalization, 472 ICU admissions and 193 deaths. Dating back to the discovery of the state's first positive coronavirus case on March 9, DeWine has taken several measures to encourage physical distancing, including a stay-at-home order that is currently in place until at least May 1.

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