Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump wants to throw open the houses of worship "right now," claiming they are essential services.

What he's saying: “The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now. For this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors," he said during a press conference on Friday.

Why it matters: Social distancing is hard at places of worship and there's an ongoing legal fight over how they should be treated in plans to lift coronavirus lockdowns.

  • Places of worship, including churches, mosques and synagogues, remain mostly closed due to large gathering restrictions across America.
  • Governors and local officials make these decisions, not Trump, but his pressure could push some of them to accelerate reopening timelines.
  • A CDC case study out this week said 35 of the 92 people who attended services at a rural Arkansas church in March tested positive for COVID-19, killing three.

The big picture: In California, a "group of federal attorneys wrote a letter to [Gov. Gavin] Newsom warning him that prolonged church closures likely violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment due to the fact that similar non-religious businesses are receiving the green light to reopen in Stage 2," per the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • A federal judge ruled in early May that churches can be held to the same standards as other places where people commune, such as restaurants, concerts, movies and sporting events, notes Axios' Marisa Fernandez.
  • Federal courts earlier ruled against temporary bans in Kentucky and Kansas. Churches are now open in a reduced capacity in both states.

Earlier this week, the CDC released a 60-page road map for states, restaurants, schools, child care programs, mass transit systems and other businesses, Axios' Alayna Treene notes.

  • Some religious leaders voiced concerns about churches being left out, sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Go deeper... Trump: "we're not closing our country" for second coronavirus wave

Go deeper

Hollywood's international game of chicken

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

If all goes to plan, Christopher Nolan's thrice-delayed "Tenet" will be the first blockbuster to receive a proper worldwide theatrical release amid the coronavirus pandemic at the end of this month.

Why it matters: It'll be playing a $200 million game of chicken, hoping to prove that people across the globe are still willing to trek to theaters to see a splashy new movie.

Updated 16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 18,160,139 — Total deaths: 690,724 — Total recoveries — 10,755,137Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 4,698,244 — Total deaths: 155,191 — Total recoveries: 1,468,689 — Total tests: 56,812,162Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Business: Virtual school is another setback for retail — The pandemic hasn't hampered health care.
  5. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
2 hours ago - Sports

13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive for coronavirus

Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Seven players and six staff members from the St. Louis Cardinals have tested positive for the coronavirus over the past week, prompting the MLB to postpone the team's upcoming four-game series against the Detroit Tigers.

Why it matters: Seven consecutive Cardinals games have now been canceled after St. Louis became the second team to report a significant coronavirus outbreak, just two weeks into the season.