Bill to consider churches essential in emergencies advances

A South Carolina Senate subcommittee unanimously approved the bill last week, sending it to the Senate

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — A bill that would assure churches can meet in person in South Carolina during a pandemic or other emergency as long as other essential businesses can stay open is advancing in the state Senate.

A Senate subcommittee unanimously approved the bill last week, sending it to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill passed the House last March.

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Supporters of the bill said they know the state never closed any churches when other businesses were closed in spring 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic started.

An exterior view of the South Carolina State House, Columbia

An exterior view of the South Carolina State House, Columbia (Epics/Getty Images)

But they said the proposal is needed to make sure it never happens, citing other states that did require churches to close.

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No one spoke against the bill at the meeting last Tuesday.

Window light is shing on rows of empty church pews in a Church Sanctuary without any people in it.

Window light is shing on rows of empty church pews in a Church Sanctuary without any people in it.