On Tuesday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals backed a lower court's decision not to tinker with Gov. J.B. Pritzker's executive order limiting the size of religious gatherings to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The appellate panel supported the lower court’s decision that churches are closer to concert halls and movie theaters, which are shuttered under the order, than to warehouses and grocery stores, which are less limited than religious institutions. The Illinois executive order has now been softened along with other pandemic restrictions. Soup kitchens and housing for the homeless have been deemed essential because they keep people from starving or going without their medicine, the panel said, rejecting an argument by the two churches that are challenging the law. In any case, the state's argument, that churches are closer in many ways to the more-restricted movie theaters and concert halls, is better than the churches' argument that they are like grocery stores, warehouses, or soup kitchens, the panel said.