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New warnings about the coronavirus as Americans celebrate the Holiday Weekend; White House Adviser Says May Unemployment Could Be "North Of 20 Percent;" Worshippers Face New Restrictions As Churches Reopen. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 24, 2020 - 15:00   ET



FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: Feeding America, Meals-on-Wheels, World Central Kitchen, and No Kid Hungry.

Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning team up against Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in Capital One's "The Match: Champions For Charity." "The Match" starts next on TNT, TBS, TruTV, and HLN.

Hello again, thank you so much for joining me this Sunday, I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with new warnings about the coronavirus as Americans celebrate the Holiday Weekend.

From the looks of beaches coast-to-coast, it's hard to tell that there is a pandemic still underway. Oceanfront communities are swarmed by people looking to spend their time outdoors after months being cooped up during stay-at-home orders. Social distancing seemingly on the backburner for many.

In Myrtle Beach, South Carolina officials declared this weekend an extraordinary event which is a type of Executive Order that authorizes law enforcement to take extra steps if needed to protect public health and safety.

All of this comes as the head of the F.D.A. warned today that the coronavirus is not yet contained, urging Americans to protect themselves and their communities.

The number of deaths in the U.S. is closing in on a grim milestone approaching 100,000, and now two states in the south are seeing cases spike. North Carolina reporting its single highest one day total on Saturday, while Arkansas's governor says his state is seeing its second spike.


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): It's clear and evident to me that we have one peak and then we've had a deep dip, and they were having a second peak right now and they're really about 30 days apart.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WHITFIELD: CNN has reporters at beaches from coast-to-coast. CNN's

Rosa Flores is monitoring the crowds gathering on the Florida Panhandle. She is live for us from Pensacola Beach.

Rosa, what are you seeing and hearing from people there?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, I want to show you around because one of the things that is important of course is social distancing, and here is what Pensacola Beach is doing.

You can see that the umbrellas are set apart because of social distancing requirements, at least six feet, but you can tell that they are more than six feet apart.

Now, this beach has 250 feet in depth, which allows that to happen, as Cambia County has about 27 miles of beaches again that allows that to happen.

Now, we just got the number of cars because this is a drivable beach. A number of cars that drove into Pensacola yesterday and today, and Fred, I could tell you that they are very much on par with last year.

Now last year's numbers according to the County Commissioner, Robert Bender who represents this area, he said that over Thursday to Monday last year, 85,000 cars crossed over to Pensacola.

Well, yesterday and today, nearly 40,000 cars crossed over, but he did mention a very important point. First of all, the two hotels are closed. There are events that have not been allowed to happen.

Pride Week was actually supposed to happen this week. That did not happen. That brings in about 50,000 people.

He was describing that normally during Memorial Day weekend on this beach, people would be shoulder to shoulder. There would be also concerts going on. None of that is happening.

So that of course is one of the obvious questions to ask this Commissioner is, is he concerned given the fact that so many people are coming in from other states, from Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, Tennessee, and here's what he had to say. Take a listen.


ROBERT BENDER, COMMISSIONER, DISTRICT 4, FLORIDA: It is something we are concerned about, that's why we closed the beaches to begin with in March. But of course, as we've learned more about it, as people know more about the symptoms and what to do, we've been very fortunate that we've had a lot of testing available here.

And so, if people are experiencing any types of symptoms or anything like that, then they need to get tested if they come.


FLORES: Now, as we take another live look, you can see that the umbrellas here in Pensacola are separated by at least six feet and Fred, the rules here are very simple in Pensacola. It's social distancing, that's it. Masks are not required -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Rosa Flores. Thank you so much. All right. Let's go up the coast now to a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where the City Council has declared the Memorial Day weekend an extraordinary event to boost public health measures as beachgoers descend upon that area.

CNN's Natasha Chen is there. So, Natasha, what does this declaration mean?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, so Fred, this city resolution was actually a result of something that they observed last weekend.

They wrote into the resolution that they saw some problems with people's behavior, not social distancing, some safety issues, especially as it related to some modes of transportation, crowds on Ocean City Boulevard.


CHEN: So, this Executive Order that you're talking about, it means that golf carts are banned, and they're giving police as you said, a little more authority and flexibility to, for example, get help from local state and Federal officials, and potentially even shut down some businesses between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. if they need to.

Let's show you some of the crowds here on the beach right now. You know, we've been told by a lifeguard team that just drove by that today is actually pretty tame, relatively speaking, except for the fact that you've got a lot of people. People are actually keeping their parties separate from each other.

There is a couple over my left shoulder here under the green umbrella, they didn't want to talk on camera, but they did tell me that that is one of their favorite spots and it happens to be very nicely social distanced from everyone else.

Here is a local resident that we did talk to you on camera talking about what he sees this weekend compared to the normal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Business as usual, really, it seems. Everybody here seems to be enjoying themselves and I don't really see any much difference than a normal holiday weekend.

I would say the crowds are mostly right in front of the hotels, if you're actually further down, where there's less hotels, it's actually even less busy down there.


CHEN: And that man that we talked to and his family, they're involved in helping the restaurant businesses here in town. So, they had firsthand experience with how desperately these local businesses really need these tourism dollars.

So, they are very happy to see that there is some cash flow this weekend. And they said, you know, hardly anyone is wearing masks in town. We're wearing ours when we're off the air and they said they're okay with that. They know that this comes with a little bit of risk, but they're very happy to see those tourism dollars come in -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, and Natasha Chen, thank you so much.

All right. Meanwhile, crowds also gathered this weekend in along Atlantic coast. CNN's Pete Muntean is live for us from Ocean City, Maryland.

So Pete, you have any crowds there?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's relatively easy to comply with social distancing right now, Fredricka, because it is really not much of a beach day here in Ocean City, Maryland.

I just want to show you down the boardwalk here, 55 degrees out, cold and windy and cloudy. And despite what it might look like right now, you can maintain about six feet of social distancing here on the boardwalk, a destination for folks region wide.

I do want to show you some images from yesterday though. A different story, 80 degrees out, warm and sunny, not as windy either.

The boardwalk has been open for the last couple of weeks here in Ocean City and city officials say they are recommending that folks wear masks. They are recommending that folks social distance.

They're trying to enforce those policies the best they can, and they are watching images like yesterday and today and they will tomorrow to make sure they're not in a position where they have to close down the boardwalk again.

The city says they're doing everything it can do -- doing everything it can, putting up signs here telling folks to social distance.

Actually, these benches out here along the boardwalk, every other bench has a 2x4 on it, to try and block people from being too close to one another.

So officials here in Ocean City, Maryland say, the city has done its part. Now, it's on folks to do their part -- Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, Pete Muntean, thank you so much in Ocean City, Maryland.

All right now to California where beaches are open, but with a lot of restrictions. CNN's Paul Vercammen joining us from Playa Del Rey in Southern California. So Paul, it's about noon there. And what are you seeing? PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have room right now, Fred.

By the way, they even have a statistical chart for this beach, Dockweiler, and the crowds peak at around four in the afternoon.

So right now on this Memorial Weekend, we probably would be seeing a lot more people. Even this early at noon, we're seeing a soccer game breakout over here.

The rules are simple. They want you to wear your mask when you're not in the water and not everybody is adhering to that.

Then there was this big move that they made here in LA County where they opened up this popular bikeway. It's 22 miles long.

And we talked to people who were riding their bikes and I have to say, so far this morning, the bike riders have had their masks on, and they see a dramatic contrast between their attitude here in California, and the attitude of some people in the southeastern United States.


SONYA LAFERRIERE, CALIFORNIA BEACHGOER: I think here most people are more caring about other people and not so -- I don't know, thinking about themselves, you know, selfish and just thinking about me and my freedoms and that whole thing.

You know, here, more people are just more accepting of each other and trying to take care of each other, I think. But you always have a few here too that, you know, aren't doing it.


MAURICE LAFERRIERE, CALIFORNIA BEACHGOER: I think it is social respect. You know, people might be symptomatic, pre-symptomatic, asymptomatic. It's just -- it's just social respect that matters.


VERCAMMEN: So, back here live. Why did they open up LA County? Why did they let this bikeway open again? Well, they're comfortable with the numbers. They say the hospitalizations are down. The death rate is down. The rate of infection is down.

So for now, Fred, we're seeing an easing of the social restrictions. And so long as people comply with the rules and stay six feet apart and wear their masks and don't have huge parties on the beach, these large gatherings are forbidden. They're going to allow people to go ahead and go to the beach. Back, you know -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Paul Vercammen in Southern California. Thank you.

All right. Well, it's not just people in the U.S. who are venturing out. Look at these pictures from Italy, where people are flocking to newly reopened beaches there. Beachgoers are being warned to social distance, but these pictures from Palermo show very few are following or seem to be following those rules.

Italy has nearly 230,000 COVID-19 cases and almost 33,000 deaths.

All right, coming up. Arkansas is reporting a second peak in coronavirus cases. The Mayor of Little Rock joins me live to discuss the steps being taken to prevent any new infections.

Plus, a warning before you dine out. See how quickly the virus can spread by sharing food drinks and condiments, even if only one person is sick.



WHITFIELD: Around the country, we're witnessing scenes of crowded beaches with many people foregoing masks and social distancing.

But this morning Whitehouse Coronavirus Taskforce coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx warned that just because we are reopening, it doesn't mean that people can stop taking precautions.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR We've made it clear that there's asymptomatic spread, and that means that people are spreading the virus unknowingly, and this is unusual in the case of respiratory diseases in many cases. So, you don't know who is infected.

And so we really want to be clear all the time that social distancing is absolutely critical, and if you can't social distance and you're outside, you must wear a mask.

These are items that are really critical to protect individuals. We've learned a lot about this virus, but we now need to translate that learning into real change behavior.


WHITFIELD: Kristen Holmes joins me now from the White House. So, Kristen, with all 50 states reopening, we're seeing some early signs of regional COVID-19 surges. Does the White House have a plan for that?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, not that we know of, and not really one that President Trump himself seems to know of.

You know, we've heard from him as recently as this Thursday when he was at that Ford plant, he was asked if they were going to close down the economy again, close down the country if there was a resurgence, and he said, no.

Now, this isn't surprising. This is the same storyline that we have heard from him or a narrative we've heard from him since the beginning of the pandemic. Remember, we were just talking over a month ago about how he wanted to

reopen the economy and do it quickly.

He wanted to override those governors and make sure that this happened very fast, and he doubled down on his own rhetoric this weekend himself in what he did.

He went golfing this weekend. This is the first time he's really gone out. Definitely, the first time he's gone golfing since early March.

So, clearly here, he is sending a message that we are back open and it feels as though the message is if you go off of what he said Thursday, that we're back open to stay.

Now. Dr. Deborah Birx, it wasn't the only thing she said. She also expressed some concern that the country wasn't where it needed to be to prevent a resurgence. Take a listen.


BIRX: We have to do much better with proactive testing, not just count the number of tests we've done, that's great, but really ensure those tests are being applied in a way that we find the asymptomatic cases.

It is much easier to find symptomatic cases because people are sick and when people are sick, they're often not out and about, particularly if they have a severe case of COVID with high fever.

What I'm worried about is, what are we putting in place to find asymptomatic cases?


HOLMES: So, if there isn't anything in place to find asymptomatic cases, and we see weekends like this where there are people who are not social distancing, it is likely in at least some places that there will be some sort of resurgence.

And you asked me, Fred about if there was a contingency plan for the White House. Well, I want to make very clear that what we've learned in this process is that it's not going to be up to the White House.

Even if President Trump, as he has doubles down, and says he doesn't want to close the country, these states, these governors are going to be the ones who have to make that decision based on what they're seeing in their data in their communities.

WHITFIELD: Dr. Birx also addressed the question that came about the President. He wore a mask when visiting a Ford facility, but then he refused to allow the public to see him. What more can you tell us about -- you know what came of that?

HOLMES: Well, look, you know, Dr. Birx was asked, should President Trump be wearing a mask? Should everyone be wearing a mask? And she was very, very clear. Everyone should be wearing a mask. There is science behind the mask

and the reason why I'm using the word science is one, she used it, but two, we've really started to see this sort of cultural and political battle erupt over wearing a mask.

If you're on one side of the aisle, you think you should. If you're on the other, you shouldn't. And we've seen these fights breaking out. I mean, obviously, you've spoken to our own reporters who were kind of heckled on a beach for wearing a mask and her point was clear that everyone should wear one, and that the science is again behind it.

But President Trump himself this weekend not listening to that. We saw him leave for golf, both yesterday and today, not wearing a mask. And while he was doing some social distancing, he was in a golf cart alone at one point, on that green, he looked very close to some of his partners -- Fred.

WHITFIELD: And, of course, you have now two Republican governors who have come out to say, wearing a mask should not be, you know, misconstrued that people are making a political statement.

All right, Kristen Holmes, thank you so much.

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett telling CNN today he thinks the country's bleak unemployment picture is going to get even worse and May's unemployment rate could be, quote, "north of 20 percent."


KEVIN HASSETT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ECONOMIC ADVISER: My expectation is that since they're still innocent claim for unemployment insurance in May, that the unemployment rate will be higher in June, then in May, but then after that, it should start to trend down.

So, I think we're very, very close to an inflection point in terms of business activity and probably about a month away in terms of employment.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You think unemployment is going to be even higher?

HASSETT: Yes, it's going to be quite a bit higher. And you know, there are some technical things they kind of messed up and on an economics lecture, we go into them, but it could be if they fix the numbers and fix the thing that they mischaracterized last time that you'll end up with a number north of 20 percent.


WHITFIELD: Hassett also said Americans could still see double digit unemployment in October and November as voters prepare To go to the polls.

New Jersey could soon be forced to make some major budget cuts unless the Federal government comes to the rescue.

Governor Phil Murphy estimating that his state will have a $10 billion revenue loss, which could force him to lay off some frontline workers.


GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): We announced the budget on Friday for the next four months. We had to cut or defer over $5 billion of expenditures and this includes potentially laying off educators, firefighters, police, EMS, healthcare workers.

This is not abstract. This is real. It's not a blue state issue. It's an American issue.


WHITFIELD: So far, both the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have resisted calls to provide Federal relief for states facing budget shortfalls.

All right, coming up. Some parts of the country are seeing a rise in coronavirus cases with Arkansas reporting a new peak in cases. What are officials doing to prevent new infections and save lives? The Mayor of Little Rock joins me to discuss, next.

And a reminder, join CNN's Fareed Zakaria as he investigates the moment a pandemic was born. CNN's special report "China's Deadly Secret" begins tonight at nine.



WHITFIELD: Welcome back. While some states are seeing a downward trend in coronavirus cases, others are seeing spikes. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson says his state is seeing a second peak in cases right now.


HUTCHINSON: I think you can see that we actually, with the seven-day rolling average of new cases that you see one peak here of about 160 new cases, and then the rolling average across the way that you see a second peak.

And that's the point I want to emphasize is that it's clear and evident to me that we have one peak, and then we've had a deep dip. And they were having a second peak.


WHITFIELD: Joining me now to discuss is Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr.

Mayor, good to see you.

MAYOR FRANK SCOTT, JR. (D), LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS: Good to see you as well, Fredricka. Thank you so much for this opportunity. WHITFIELD: Absolutely. So, is there any evidence that you're seeing

specifically in your city that suggests being on the brink of a second wave?

SCOTT: Well, what we always try to do is here in the City of Little Rock is follow testing and data. We've been seeing a lot of testing that shows that there has been a peak and as we are monitoring that, that's going to guide our steps.

And so we're very cautious as to how we're going to move in our next steps and with reopening here in the City of Little Rock, and so we want to continue more data by having more targeted testing in unserved and underserved areas right here in the City of Little Rock.

WHITFIELD: Governor Hutchinson says a high school party -- a pool party is contributing to the new cases of 163. This, as we also got new video of another massive pool party this weekend in the Ozarks, which isn't too far from your state.

So, how worried are you about people being so anxious to get out that they are bypassing wearing masks or respecting social distancing?

SCOTT: Well, I'm very concerned about our city and our residents and their protection. We have to persevere through this current virus that we're experiencing right now. But we have to wear our masks.

While we can't mandate masks through a commerce restriction right here in the City of Little Rock, we are strongly encouraging it and we're doing it by example, leading by example.

But we will be doing our best to enforce any of the C.D.C. guidelines to ensure the residents know that they have to wear a mask as best as possible when they can't social distance.

It's all about themselves, their families and our city and we must do it together.

WHITFIELD: The President of the United States is calling for all places of worship to reopen, deeming them essential. I understand that you're an Associate Pastor.

I spoke with Governor Hutchinson a couple of weeks ago who said because you had no stay-at-home order, churches have been able to be open per regular business there.

So, what are your thoughts on the President encouraging all states to make sure that all churches are open and available?


SCOTT: Well, as an Associate Pastor of the Greater Second Baptist Church right here in the City of Little Rock and all of the other faith leaders that I have been visiting with.

While we understand that we are socially distant during this time, we are spiritually connected and it is our duty as leaders in the faith world to ensure that we keep everyone as protected as possible.

And so we are encouraging everyone, as best as possible we are being creative with parking lot services where you remain in your vehicle or continuing on with online virtual services, to do whatever possible to remain with the protection of your flock, and that's what we're seeing whether it is in the Christian world or the Muslim world as our Muslim brothers and sisters are just now breaking their fast with Eid al Fitr earlier today this morning.

And so, yes, we want to ensure that all members of the faith world do what we can to protect our parishioners.

WHITFIELD: So do you believe that that kind of practice should be carried out from this day forward for a while? Whether it is you know, in parking lots, people in their cars or whether it's online services.

SCOTT: Well, every church and church leader has to be led, but I do understand one of the sermons today that I was listening with Pastor Howard John Wesley is to understand that you have to take scientific data and your faith into one as you continue to move forward, and so with my church remaining virtually connected.

But another church may be different. They had the sermon that they have to deal with, but again, we are promoting virtual online services as well as parking lot services, but also always remember that you have to protect your flock first. And that's what we want to do.

You do not have to be in a building to remain in church. The church is within yourself.

WHITFIELD: The F.D.A. issued a Memorial Day warning, telling Americans that the coronavirus is not yet contained. What's the message that you want to send to Little Rock?

SCOTT: Well, to Little Rock, if you're listening to me right now, I'm asking, I'm pleading to you to wear your mask, to remain socially distant, and to always protect yourself, your family and your community.

If we do this together, we will get through this and I know for a fact we will because we are resilient and a resourceful city. And as long as we remain cautious, competent, and collaborative. We'll find creative ways for this new present and this new future together.

WHITFIELD: All right, Little Rock, Arkansas Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. Thank you so much.

SCOTT: Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, still ahead. Keeping the faith while keeping worshipers safe.

I'll ask the Archbishop of Miami that what mass will look like when churches reopen there this week.


WHITFIELD: As every state is now at least partially back open, restaurants are slowly reopening their doors with limited capacity, but just how easily could germ spread during say a dinner out.

CNN's Randi Kaye joins me now from West Palm Beach in Florida. So Randi, the video of germs spreading is quite remarkable and it certainly makes me lose my appetite.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think it's going to be a long time, Fred, before any of us feel the nerve to go out and eat certainly at a full capacity restaurant, but with much of the country opening and some restaurants now here in Florida at least open to about 50 percent capacity, we did want to take a look at how easily germs can spread.

I want to know if I had them on my hand. Let's talk about this contact spread. Let's see if I could spread them to other people just by sitting down to a meal together.

So, we decided to take a test and here's what we found.


KAYE: Put some in and should I rub it all together as well?

KAYE (voice over): This yellow-tinted glue is a mixture of petroleum jelly and fluorescence solution.


DR. PATRICK HUGHES, FLORIDA ATLANTIC UNIVERSITY: Under an ultraviolet light, this will glow.

KAYE (on camera): Okay and that's going to simulate germs on my hand.

HUGHES: Correct. So, this will simulate contact spread, you know from you to other things that you've touched and maybe touched by someone else.


KAYE (voice over): Dr. Patrick Hughes is an ER doctor who oversees the Emergency Medicine Simulation Program at Florida Atlantic University.


KAYE: Hi, ladies.



KAYE (voice over): He invited us to lunch designating me the so- called spreader. So, we could see how germs on my hand which could be coronavirus droplets could spread in a restaurant setting.

At our table, we keep our masks on to protect ourselves and each other.


KAYE: For you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much.



KAYE (voice over): I pour water for everyone at the table.


KAYE: This is great. You guys are having us for lunch.



KAYE (voice over): And pass around the food, wondering if I'm passing around the virus, too.


KAYE: Chips?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, yes. Awesome. Thank you.


KAYE (voice over): We also share the salt and pepper. Then it's time to turn on the ultraviolet lights to see what I may have spread.

Remember, I was the only one with what could have been the virus on my hand.


KAYE: You didn't have any germs on you, I was the spreader. So, when you look at my hands and look how it transferred to some of you just by sharing items at the table or a knife, in this case, or a water glass, I mean even -- it only takes a little bit, right, to make somebody else sick.


KAYE (voice over): How about that bowl of chips I passed around?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see where she touched the edge of the bowl to pass it around, the simulated germs, you know, stuck right to the surface.

KAYE: And then everybody else touches the bowl.



KAYE (voice over): Same with the salt and pepper shakers, and the pitcher of water. There was contact spread on the cups and menus to even my lunch friends.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the spot where when Randi came in to have lunch with her friends, she touched right on the shoulder just to greet everybody and you can see the outline of her palm print, her handprint right on the shirt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's quite scary the amount of spread that one person can have in a room like that.

KAYE (on camera): We also wanted to see what would help happen if you're out for lunch or dinner with a friend or your family at a restaurant and somebody coughs, so let's turn off the lights and let's see the cough.


KAYE (voice over): There were now more droplets on the bowl of chips, the menus and the water pitcher, too.


KAYE: Look at happened to the fork after that simulated cough. Those would be real germs if that was a real cough on my fork. I would have picked up the fork not being able to see those germs with the naked eye.


KAYE (voice over): Even the woman sitting to my right several feet away from the mannequin that coughed had droplets on her face.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see it's on her face, her glasses her mask.

KAYE: If she wasn't wearing the mask, she would have breathed it in.



KAYE: So, I asked that doctor we were working with on that, Fred, I said, would you go out to eat at a restaurant right now? And he said he would have to think long and hard about that for sure.

But the thing is, is that people want to know how can they protect themselves and that's the tough part with going to a restaurant because we had our masks on, but if you're really going there to eat, you're going to take your mask off. Maybe you have tight tables in some of these bigger cities, smaller restaurants, or you're not going to be able to socially distance.

You're not going to be able to wear gloves to eat certain food. So it is very hard to protect yourself in a restaurant. What you didn't see, Fred, was I even had my iPhone with me. And that was on the table and I had taken a call during lunch which many of us do if we are out for a meal, we leave our phones on the table. It was covered in that yellow glue.

WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh.

KAYE: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Okay, something tells me a lot of us are going to be eating alone for a really long time.

KAYE: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Randi Kaye, thank you so much. We will be right back.



WHITFIELD: President Trump last week declared houses of worship an essential service and threatened to override governors who didn't comply encouraging churches to be open.

The declaration came as the C.D.C. issued new guidelines for the reopening of churches and other religious institutions.

In Miami, Catholic churches will resume services beginning Tuesday, but with new restrictions including the requirements that churchgoers wear masks.

Joining me now on the phone is the Archbishop of Miami, Thomas Wenski. Glad you could be with me.

ARCHBISHOP THOMAS WENSKI, MIAMI (via phone): Thank you, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: Fantastic. There are more than 16,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Miami Dade right now. We heard our Rosa Flores say that Miami Dade is the epicenter, the hardest hit in Florida. So why is this a good time to reopen churches and to have mass services again?

WENSKI: Well, this is a region of South Florida that has over two and a half million people. So, 16,000 is a relatively small statistic and we are moving forward following social distancing and hand sanitizers and facial masks et cetera. And I think we are able to do this safely and without much difficulty

and of course, here in the State of Florida there were never any restrictions on religious groups or religious worship sites.

So, I think we're moving into a kind of prudential and careful way. We're doing it at a time when other groups, other entities that are also reopening like restaurants and even movie theaters.

WHITFIELD: So, you're saying, parishioners have to wear masks, are your churches providing masks or are you asking people to bring their own, and what other changes might they expect?

WENSKI: Well, the changes that they'll expect is once they get to the church, they'll notice that the capacity of the church or the occupancy is much reduced because when you put that six-foot distance in between people that pretty much limits the space available to about 25 to 30 percent of the church.

So, a church that seat comfortably 800 people will now see less than 200, and besides that, we're asking people to come with facial masks, and we hope to have a supply if anybody that might have forgotten theirs.

And we have it available at the doors of the church, the hand sanitizers that they can use and we will be sanitizing the church in between the services.

At the same time, we are telling people that have underlying conditions or the elderly and frail that they should stay home and of course, with anyone who are sick to just stay home.

But also their caregiver of someone that is frail, or has an underlying condition that they stay home and we will continue to make services available, live streaming for those people.

WHITFIELD: Okay, Archbishop of Miami, Thomas Winske. Thank you so much. All the best. Be well.

WENSKI: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: With American jobless claims soaring, faith groups are stepping in to help their members through these times that are very difficult and confusing.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has more.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS REPORTER (voice over): Sunday sermons look different these days at River Church in Durham, North Carolina.



YURKEVICH (voice over): That's because Bishop Ronald Godbee Sr. is now leading them online.


GODBEE: We want to make sure that we're serving you. That's right, we're here for you.


YURKEVICH (voice over): And their mission is different, too.


GODBEE: We're seeing people come to us for things that otherwise, we wouldn't have to deal with. But they're looking for guidance and direction.


YURKEVICH (voice over): Bishop Godbee and his team are helping parishioners file for unemployment, something the church has never done before.

Eighteen percent of the workforce in North Carolina has filed for unemployment due to COVID-19. And the national unemployment rate for black Americans soared to 16.7 percent in April, nearly triple the rate in February.


GODBEE: Unfortunately, we see the disparities existing in everyday life -- in the everyday life of the people. But now, we just see it exacerbating.


YURKEVICH (voice over): The unemployment system is strained. Many Americans are still waiting to get through, leaving applicants frustrated without answers and praying for divine intervention. Faith groups are stepping in to help.


GODBEE: A number of people in our congregation went to apply for unemployment and couldn't log in. And so, not only were we able to provide direction and insight, but also encouragement so that they could go back and try again. And they've been successful in their efforts.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association, a faith- based community service group, also shifted direction. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are the links to apply for unemployment benefits.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): The group is now holding online unemployment tutorials and blasting out a step-by-step resource guide in English and Urdu to their 25,000 members, while also walking people through the process one-on-one.


SALAAM BHATTI, AHMADIYYA MUSLIM YOUTH ASSOCIATION: In the age of technology we are able to do screen sharing to help walk people through doing the applications.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): Waleed Kahn is one of those members who didn't know where to turn.


YURKEVICH (on camera): If you hadn't had the help of this group, do you think you would have gotten your unemployment?


YURKEVICH (on camera): Yes, so they were a huge help?

KAHN: Yes, absolutely.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Is helping with things like unemployment -- is that the role of a faith-based organization?

BHATTI: Yes, it is because faith groups aren't just to come together once a week or five times a day and pray together. There is so much more that happens as a result of that faith where we are there for each other. So we need to be able to rally and marshal our resources and help each other out.


YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, New York.

WHITFIELD: As a nation honors our veterans this weekend, Memorial Day events will look a little different during this pandemic.

CNN's Boris Sanchez has more.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Even at a time of great uncertainty, there's still efforts underway this Memorial Day weekend to honor those Americans who lost their lives serving their country.

Though this Memorial Day weekend will be very different than in years past, with officials weary of having large crowds of memorials because of coronavirus, many ceremonies including wreath layings are going online.

The annual observance of the Arlington National Cemetery will be live streamed and closed to the public. Though on Thursday, about a thousand Old Guard soldiers were allowed to continue the annual tradition of placing small American flags near each headstone, more than 240,000 in all.

The cemetery only allowing family members visiting their loved ones' grave sites this weekend, and everyone will be required to wear face masks.

Hoping to avoid big gatherings at monuments across the nation's capital, the National Park Service also planning to broadcast wreath layings online.


MICHAEL LITTERST, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE: It wasn't a question of, are we going to do something or aren't we going to do something? It was a matter of how can we still honor these fallen men and women, while at the same time protecting our visitors and folks who might want to come out.


SANCHEZ: Meantime, the National Memorial Day concert will not have an audience on hand this year. It'll just be a virtual one.


SANCHEZ: While Americans may not be paying their respects in person, this Memorial Day weekend will not go by without Americans in various ways, honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Boris Sanchez, CNN, Washington.


WHITFIELD: And thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. The NEWSROOM continues with Ana Cabrera right after this.