Easter Sunday falls on April 12, Passover started April 8 and ends April 16 and the holidays for both the Christian and Jewish faiths typically involve at least one large family feast.
In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear reminded all citizens of the state that regardless of religion, large gatherings are still prohibited in the fight to control the spread of COVID-19.
“This is a time and weekend, a whole week for multiple faiths, that is about faith. It’s about knowing we have faced as people — as Christians, as Jews, as members of many faiths — many difficult, dark times, and we have prevailed,” Beshear said.
With compliance and support from the state's faith leaders, according to a release, Beshear said in a press conference on Friday that anyone who attends an in-person mass gathering this weekend will face quarantine orders.
“This is the only way we can ensure that your decision doesn’t kill someone else,” he said.
Mass gatherings were prohibited in Kentucky on March 19. To attend one is considered a "misdemeanor violation of the emergency orders issued by the Governor and Kentucky Department for Public Health," says the governor's office.
This applies to all mass gatherings, religious or not, but in specific application to this weekend, Beshear said Kentucky State Police will be taking down license plate numbers of any vehicle they see at a gathering. The police will pass that info along to local health officials, who will then contact the owners and require them to self-quarantine for 14 days.
“Folks, we shouldn’t have to do this,” Beshear said. “What we’re asking is for you to love your neighbor as yourself. We shouldn’t have to do this.”
Beshear said that Kentucky officials are only aware of six churches that are still planning to hold in-person services. He also referenced a COVID-19 outbreak in Hopkins County after a church there held a revival service in mid-March. According to kentucky.com, as of April 2, that revival led to at least a dozen cases of the coronavirus and two deaths.
At least one faith leader is quoted in a press release from the governor's office supporting the deicison.
“I want to encourage you to meet together separately this Sunday, to remind you that on that first Easter Jesus came to people behind locked doors,” said Chris Michael, pastor of the First Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Owensboro. “He will come to you as well.”
Beshear also wanted to remind households that the Easter Bunny is considered an "essential" worker.
As of April 10, there were 1,693 reported confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky and 90 deaths.