HARRISBURG (KDKA) – With major religious holidays such as Easter and Passover nearing, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is encouraging faith leaders to hold alternative forms of gatherings.

“I know that we’re nearing several holidays, including major religious holidays like Easter and Passover,” Gov. Wolf said. “I am encouraging religious leaders hosting a holiday celebration to consider an alternative that does not bring people together in-person. As a person of faith, I understand how important it is to worship, and that congregating, whether for a service or seder dinner, can be at the very core of one’s faith. But I also understand how important it is to help neighbors, and the best way to help our neighbors right now is not by congregating. It’s by staying at home.”

Both Gov. Wolf and Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine updated the stay-at-home order to reflect the need for further guidance for religious gatherings.

“Religious leaders are encouraged to find alternatives to in-person gatherings and to avoid endangering their congregants,” the order read. “Individuals should not gather in religious buildings or homes for services or celebrations until the stay-at-home order is lifted.”

Faith leaders joined Gov. Wolf in asking the religious community to hold alternative forms of worship.

“Christians the world over are preparing to enter the holiest week of the year,” said Most Rev. Nelson J. Pérez, Archbishop of Philadelphia. “This year, Holy Week comes at a time when the coronavirus has abruptly altered our lives. For the common good, and for the preservation of each other’s health, it is essential for all Pennsylvanians to heed the governor’s call not to gather in large groups. We must embrace our common responsibility to one another and slow the spread of this virus. We are blessed with the gifts of technology and social media, which enable us to experience the richness of these Holy Days virtually.”

There are currently over 10,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania and 552 of those cases are here in Allegheny County.

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