MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Nassau County Executive Laura Curran was joined by religious leaders to urge residents to safely observe the holiday season by staying home and utilizing virtual communications tools.
There are now 9,554 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Nassau County, and 13 new deaths, making for a total of 76. There are 91 positive cases within the police department, Curran said, along with 14 in the sheriff department. There are now 1,312 Covid-19 hospitalizations, she said.
“You continue to celebrate. We need faith to keep going, to make you strong,” one woman said.
But with houses of worship closed, religious leaders are altering plans during the crisis.
“We’ve been asking all Catholics to watch Mass on television or through the internet and then to receive what we call a spiritual communion, to ask the Lord to come into their heart,” said father John McCarthy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
Some Greek Orthodox and other Christian churches plan confessions, passing of palms in unique ways, while trying to retain some levity by jokingly calling them “drive bys” that will “be like a McDonald’s.”
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Holy days and religious celebrations normally bring groups of family and friends gathering around meals at the table, reported CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan.
“I am no Moses but I can assure you keeping social distancing, even if at the expense of having limited people at the Seder table, is now one of the Ten Commandments,” said Rabbi Anchelle Perl.
Seders and Easter dinners will be scaled back. Persian New Year feasts reimagined. Ramadan fasting broken creatively.
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“In order to preserve life and health, you can suspend some of the laws of festivals and of the sabbath,” Curran said.
Some say this crisis has them contemplating rejoining their religion.
“Not as faithful as I should, but I hope for the best,” one person said.
“I wasn’t going to church that much before. Hopefully I would,” said another.
Churches, temples, gurdwaras, mosques already taking steep hits due to the coronavirus. Now, some faithful worry holiday donations will plummet.
In other Long Island news, as of Sunday, April 5, buses in Nassau County will be going to a Saturday schedule, seven days a week.
Curran admonished residents to not leave used gloves littered about parking lots outside grocery stores.