Alberta Church closed and fenced for violating COVID-19 restrictions

Alberta church shut down It was then fenced to continue to maintain service in violation of the state’s COVID-19 public health restrictions.

On April 7, Alberta Health Services closed the Grace Life Church and installed metal fences around the building for police and guards to keep people out.

The Edmonton Church remains closed until “it can demonstrate its ability to comply with the limits of Alberta’s Chief Health Officer (CMOH).” Said AHS in a statement released on the same day.

The AHS said it had 105 complaints about the church since July last year.

“As the number of cases of COVID-19 increases, becomes more susceptible to infection, and potentially more severe variants predominate, there is an urgent need to minimize the spread of infection to protect all Alberts. I will. “

GraceLife caught the attention of the Alberta Government when it accepted people who exceeded the 15% limit required for religious service in the state. December 2020, AHS fine Churches that violate public health restrictions cost $ 1,200.

The AHS issued a closure order in January, but church minister James Coates continued to serve, and on February 7, RCMP told him he would be arrested. Coates moved on February 16th.

Coates was charged with several public health law violations and criminal offenses related to the bail conditions imposed on February 7.Hundreds of protesters Rally On February 20, outside the prison, he showed his support for Coates and “supporting freedom of religion and the charter.”

On March 22, after a month’s imprisonment, the minister was released when the prosecutor agreed to withdraw all but one accusation against him. However, he was fined $ 1,500 for bail violations.

Officials said they did not stop holding Sunday services after Coates was released. He and the church still face one count each that violates public health measures and were scheduled to be tried in May.

so Official statement Posted on the website in February, Grace Life explained why the church continued to be open for believers.

“Because of the vast amount of research we have done and interacted with both doctors and front-line healthcare professionals, the negative impact of government blockades on society far outweighs the impact of COVID-19. Is clear, “said the statement.

“The science used to justify blockades is suspicious and selective. In fact, there is no empirical evidence that blockades are effective in mitigating the spread of the virus.”

“We are deeply concerned that COVID-19 is being used to radically change society and deprive us of all our civil liberties,” the church added.

AHS has not disclosed whether GraceLife had a COVID-19 outbreak due to service. The church said there were two incidents last summer, but no incidents have been confirmed since then.

Judiciary Center for Constitutional Freedom on behalf of Coates and Grace Life, Said He is resentful that the Alberta government has entered a private church and built a metal fence around the building.

“Freedom of conscience and religion is the first basic freedom described in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedom. It is listed first because it is one of the main foundational principles that Canada is building. “More,” said President John Carpey of the Justice Center in a statement Wednesday.

“The government has so far refused to justify restrictions on worship and meetings.”

The Justice Center said it was in the process of submitting a subpoena requesting Dr. Dina Hinsho, a CMOH in Alberta, to testify in Rev. Coates’s trial.