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HomeLocal & StateNew law aims to protect religious institutions during emergencies

New law aims to protect religious institutions during emergencies

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Religious services in Florida may not be suspended during emergencies under a new measure signed into law in June.

According to SB 254 no emergency order may directly or indirectly prohibit a religious institution from conducting regular religious services or activities so long as other in-person events or business operations are allowed to take place.

The new law states, “An emergency order authorized by this part may not directly or indirectly prohibit a religious institution from conducting regular religious services or activities.

However, a general provision in an emergency order which applies uniformly to all entities in the affected jurisdiction may be applied to a religious institution if the provision is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”

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The measure was introduced in response to some situations in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic during which many churches were either forced to close or reduce the occurrence of regular services or activities.

The new law becomes effective in July.

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