COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina House has approved a bill that would make sure churches and other religious organizations are treated as essential services during a state of emergency.
The bill given key approval on a 73-39 vote Thursday also says religious groups still have to follow safety protocols and occupancy rules during emergencies.
The proposal said churches and other houses of worship can’t be closed if other essential businesses are open.
Last spring while temporarily closing restaurants, beauty salons, gyms and other businesses because of COVID-19, Gov. Henry McMaster repeatedly stated closing churches would violate the freedom of religion provision in the U.S. Constitution.