Alberta Well being Providers has bodily closed Fairview Baptist Church and has prevented entry to the constructing.
In line with a information launch on Saturday morning, the motion was taken in opposition to the southeast Calgary church after its lead pastor Tim Stephens “continued to ignore public well being measures required by regulation beneath Order of the Chief Medical Officer of Well being.”
AHS stated the closure order will stay in place till the church’s pastor complies with public well being restrictions.
Underneath the Stage 1 reopening plan, the province has restricted religion service attendance to fifteen per cent of fireplace code occupancy with necessary bodily distancing and masks use.
COVID-19: AHS orders Calgary’s Fairview Baptist Church to shut after guidelines defied, pastor arrested
Officers with AHS stated they’ve tried to work with Stephens since December 2020 to deal with public well being considerations with worship companies throughout the pandemic.
In line with AHS, their environmental public well being division has obtained 57 complaints relating to Fairview Baptist Church for companies that exceeded capability limits with minimal to no masking or bodily distancing.
Stephens was arrested Could 9 for allegedly organizing a church service which police stated didn’t adjust to public well being orders.
He was launched two days later, however AHS withdrew its utility in opposition to Stephens attributable to a difficulty of mistaken id when the injunction was served.
“There are tears, there may be frustration, there’s an upset,” Alex Russell with Fairview Baptist Church instructed World Information following Stephens’ arrest in Could. “Finally what has motivated that trigger is an obedience to Christ, and so we obey him first earlier than others that we respect.”
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An injunction obtained by AHS on Could 6 mandated that occasion organizers adjust to public well being restrictions, together with masking, bodily distancing and attendance limits.
AHS ordered the church to shut on Could 17, however added that “not one of the enforcement actions taken by both AHS or (Calgary Police Service) thus far have succeeded in gaining compliance.”
AHS stated it’s working carefully with CPS, however can’t problem tickets or fines for public well being violations, that are beneath the jurisdiction or native regulation enforcement.
“AHS acknowledges that the overwhelming majority of locations of worship are compliant with required public well being measures for the safety of not solely those that attend companies, however for the safety of their households, associates and communities,” the information launch stated.
–With information from the Canadian Press
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