Churches and other houses of worship will be considered providers of essential services during future states of emergency in New Hampshire, the Associated Press reported.
Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill Aug. 10 that allows such religious organizations to operate to the same degree as essential businesses during a state of emergency, an action affirmed by Terry Dorsett, executive director of the Baptist Convention of New England.
“New England Baptists, especially those in New Hampshire, applaud Gov. Sununu for reminding the broader culture that churches are indeed essential to the ongoing health of the community.
“Churches, and other houses of worship, play an essential role in not only the emotional and spiritual health of the communities they serve, but also through the compassionate services they provide to the economically disadvantaged and anyone else who finds themselves in the midst of significant crisis,” Dorsett told TAB Media.
During the first few months of the pandemic, hardware and liquor stores remained open, while churches were forced to close. Many New Hampshire Baptist churches held services online during that time.
The new law takes effect in 60 days.