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Mormon leaders ask church members to wear face masks in public to defend against coronavirus

July 13, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

SALT LAKE CITY, UNITED STATES: A statue of Brigham Young, second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stands in the center of Salt Lake City with the Mormon Temple spires in the background 19 July 2001. Salt Lake City will be the host of the 2002 Winter Olympics. AFP Photo/George FREY (Photo credit should read GEORGE FREY/AFP via Getty Images)

Mormon church leaders are imploring followers to wear masks in public to defend against the coronavirus as temples reopen and church activities resume.

(CNN)Mormon church leaders are imploring followers to wear masks in public to defend against the coronavirus as temples reopen and church activities resume.

The Utah Area Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which consists of local leaders who preside over the church's activities in the region, asked church members in an email to wear face coverings in public "for the blessing and benefit of all. "

The area's three leaders, citing a "growing chorus of medical authorities," recommended members of the church wear masks both indoors and outdoors to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Elders Craig Christensen, Randy Funk and Walter González, who comprise the Utah Area Presidency, applauded the members who returned to church services wearing masks.

"Now we ask all Latter-day Saints in the Utah Area to be good citizens by wearing face coverings when in public," they wrote.

Almost half of those cases are in Salt Lake County, the most populous county in the state where the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is headquartered.

Paired with social distancing, face coverings are the most effective way to prevent coronavirus transmission, a study published in June found.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints suspended much of its activity due to the coronavirus, sending missionaries home and closing most of its temples.

Many of those temples have since resumed services this month as the church begins its own phased reopening, though many church activities remain suspended, including its educational programs and Tabernacle Choir performances.

In a news release earlier this month, the Church didn't include masks in its list of suggested preventative measures.

The church recommended members cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and keep at least six feet of distance from other people, but wearing a face covering wasn't mentioned.

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