Choir sang for Mike Pence at Dallas, Texas megachurch without masks

A choir of more than 100 people performed for Vice President Mike Pence without face masks on Sunday at a megachurch in Dallas, Texas, CNN reported

Footage of the “Celebrate Freedom” event at the First Baptist Church, where Pence also gave a speech, showed the choir spaced around two feet apart as they performed several songs at a distance from the audience. 

Pence himself was seen wearing a mask as he disembarked his flight, to meet Texan Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, as well as in the church audience itself, CNN reported. However, he removed it to give his speech, the outlet reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously warned that group singing performances — like a choir recital — could be a “super-spreader event,” meaning it could transmit the virus easily.

Singing and projecting your voice could send droplets farther than the recommended six feet of social distancing, as Business Insider previously reported.

The CDC removed its guidance against singing in church choirs on May 22 despite the health warnings.

mike pence mask first baptist church coronavirus texas dallas

Vice President Mike Pence wore a mask during the performance.


The First Baptist Church service took place as Texas struggles to contain a renewed outbreak of the coronavirus.

Gov. Abbott said the state was seeing a “swift and very dangerous turn” in the pandemic, with an average of 5,000 new cases reported each day, the BBC reported. Hospitals are hurrying to expand their intensive care unit capacity to cope with the increase. 

The state has reported nearly 150,000 cases to date, and nearly 2,400 deaths, according to The Guardian

It is one of several states seeing huge surges in the virus since lifting lockdown restrictions

Pence himself urged mask-wearing “wherever it’s indicated” at a later address with Abbott, CNN reported.

“We know from experience, it will slow the spread of the coronavirus,” he was reported saying. 

Greg Abbott texas bar close order

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Lynda M. Gonzalez-Pool/Getty Images

The surge in cases comes as businesses across the state start to reopen. But Pence said he does not believe the reopenings are causing the growth in new cases, CNN reported.

Abbott first announced plans to lift restrictions on for Texan businesses on April 11, and by the end of May many businesses and aspects of social life had returned statewide. 

Currently, Dallas businesses are allowed to reopen at 50% occupancy, and face coverings are required in all public places where social distancing is not possible. It is unclear if this applies to churches, where there is also no hard occupancy limit.

Dr Robert Jeffress, the senior pastor at the church and a Fox News contributor, wrote on Facebook on Sunday: “Thank you Vice President Mike Pence for a powerful, inspiring message at First Baptist Dallas today that all Americans need to hear! Millions of Christians are grateful for you and for our tremendous President Donald J. Trump.”

The First Baptist Church did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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