"Effective as of 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 14, 2020, and continuing until further notice, public and private Mass Gatherings, defined below, are hereby prohibited in the City of Madison and Dane County."

We here in Madison have been ordered not to go to church.
For purposes of this Order, a “Mass Gathering” is any event or convening, subject to the exceptions listed below, that brings together or is likely to bring together two hundred fifty (250) or more people in a single room or single confined or enclosed space at the same time, such as, by way of example and without limitation, an auditorium, stadium, arena, conference room, meeting hall, theater, exhibition center, museum, places of worship and religious gathering centers, and any other space where people are present and they are within arm’s length of one another for more than ten (10) minutes.
This presents a problem under state and federal freedom of religion provisions, especially considering that there is a list of exceptions, including...
Retail food establishments (grocery stores, convenience stores, farmer’s markets);
Shopping malls and other retail establishments where large numbers of people are present but are generally not within arm’s length of one another for more than ten (10) minutes...
Health, fitness and recreational centers (not including meeting facilities, conference rooms, event spaces, or banquet halls);
Restaurants and Bars (not including meeting facilities, conference rooms, event spaces, or banquet halls)...
I'm not offering a legal opinion that banning religious meetings is unconstitutional, just observing that this is a problem. I think the religious organizations should voluntarily stop meeting — even if they draw less than 250 people — but I am disturbed to read that the government is ordering religious groups not to meet. There should be a compelling government interest behind such an order, and I believe there is, but the exceptions undercut the argument that the interest is compelling. If the situation is what you say it is, why aren't you closing down the restaurants and health clubs too?

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